Safety concerns over growing popularity of tattoos, body piercings

Because of the growing popularity of tattoos and body piercing Vanderburgh County Health Officials want to make sure these parlors are up to code and the health department wants your help to make sure these shops are operating under some important safety guidelines.

That gentle hum may be familiar to many of you.

Dwayne Caldwell at the Vanderburgh County Health Department says that more than 20% of Americans now have tattoos, and 14% have a body piercing.

With the increase in popularity over recent years, Caldwell says health officials are worried about underground shops springing up.

"We've very concerned about people doing homemade tattoos in garages and basements," said Caldwell. They don't take the same care that a reputable show would have. It leaves people open for disease and infection," he said.

Health officials are asking for your help in tracking down them down and if you're running one, they want you to know there are consequences.

"If someone is doing a shop and they're unlicensed, that's against code. There are monetary fines we can levy against that person. There are also ways we can get the police department to help," said Caldwell.

So how do you now you're in a safe place? First check to make sure both the establishment and the artist have a license.

"They should check out the work area," said Caldwell. "It should rival a doctors office for cleanliness. You want to make sure everything is first rate. That it's sterilized things they're using. That things come out of a package right before your eyes," he said.

Caldwell says unlicensed shops increase the risk of allergic reactions, infections or diseases like hepatitis or HIV.

To report violators of the health code call (812) 435-5695 or by email at

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