It's no secret that ink has been increasing in popularity, but with that trend comes an unfortunate outcome: a rise in tattoo regret. While this outcome is inevitable for some people who go under the needle, health regulators in Washington, D.C. have been attempting to do something about it. According to The Washington Post, the city health department drafted a long series of regulations regarding body art last September. The 66 page document included a number of strict requirements involving mandatory vaccinations for hygienic purposes, biohazard training for all tattoo artists and even rules surrounding the use of needles, ink and other equipment. In fact, under those proposed regulations, body art would prohibited for those under 18 years of age. More importantly, in D.C., it would be impossible for someone to simply stroll into a parlor, get tatted up and walk out.
An attempt to make change
The Washington Post reported that city officials like Najma Roberts, a spokeswoman for the health department, believed these rules would help protect citizens by preventing serious health risks. The news outlet noted that the tattoo industry in D.C. was not privy to any special rules until the council passed a body art legislation in 2012. Council member Yvette M. Alexander of D-Ward 7 realized that most other states, including Virginia and Maryland, already had these regulations in place, and decided something should be done about it – so she introduced the new bill. Roberts explained that the proposed waiting period is supposed to lessen the risk of tattoo regret, especially in cases where judgment is impaired due to alcohol or other factors.
"They can't be responsible for themselves, as well as the person doing the work on them," she told The Washington Post. "We're making sure when that decision is made that you're in the right frame of mind, and you don't wake up in the morning … saying, 'Oh my God, what happened?' "
This development caused some major concern for local parlors. Gilda Acosta, an artist at Fatty's Custom Tattooz, admitted that as many as half of her clients are walk-ins, so the new regulations could hurt business.
"It would definitely be a direct hit to my income if I couldn't tattoo people who come in and want work done on the same day," she explained the source.
Body art backlash
However, the D.C. Health Department recently announced that it was abandoning its efforts to mandate a 24 hour wait period for body art as the public response to the proposal had been mostly negative. Comments on the rules are closed, but agency lawyers are still reviewing them. Roberts didn't say when the regulations will be finalized, but Paul Roe, owner of Britishink, predicted that there should be a final draft by the end of the year.
So what does this mean for tattoo hopefuls? Any individuals desiring ink can go ahead with their plans without having to wait – but with freedom comes the risk of second-thoughts later on. While a particular design might seem like a great idea now, it could end up being an eye-sore or a painful reminder later. Especially among those who get tatted up on impulse at a young age, there's a decent chance that the etching will become undesirable or irrelevant with time and maturity. This can prove to be a challenge particularly for working professionals, who may find that their body art hinders growth or advancement in their respective industries. Fortunately, despite the fact that the waiting period was not put into effect, there are always tattoo removal options available to erase these mistakes.
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* Source: Harris Interactive, 2013