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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- With Weber and Salt Lake counties already regulating body art, where's the substandard tattoo artist to go?
Davis County has been one place, but possibly not for much longer.
On March 23, the county Health Department will hold a public hearing on proposed regulation of facilities that perform body art -- tattoos, body piercings, branding or scarification.
"We didn't want to be an unregulated island that could attract operators that couldn't be permitted elsewhere," said health Director Lewis Garrett.
The regulations would require annual permits and set sanitation standards on such things as accessibility of hand sinks and sterilization procedures for nondisposable tools.
"We are probably a little stricter on requiring parental consent for minors," Garrett said.
The regulations also would prohibit applying body art to people who are obviously drunk.
Micah Parker, a tattoo artist for 14 years and owner of Micah's Twisted Tattoo Co., said the regulations could be even more strict.
Sanitation equipment should be checked more frequently than the quarterly tests required by the regulations, she said.
"We test once a week," Parker said. "I plan to bring that up to them."
Danna Brox, who operates a tattoo studio out of her Layton mobile home, said she thinks the regulations will lend some credibility to the industry.
"It will help weed out the shady artists," Brox said.
The standards are mostly common sense for anyone who treats body art as a serious profession, said Brox, who is also a certified nursing assistant.
Both artists said the regulations will bring Davis County up to par with other Utah counties in which they have worked. As the popularity of body art has grown, those in the industry sensed that such regulations weren't far behind.
"I think everybody knew it was inevitable," Brox said. "It didn't come as any big surprise."
"I think they should have done it a long time ago," Parker said. "Other shops I worked at have always (had standards)."
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)