NDP Introduces Body Art Legislation

November 23, 2011

Nova Scotians who want a tattoo, piercing, or other type of body art would be better protected against disease with regulations and technical guidelines as part of legislation proposed today, Nov. 23.

“Government recognizes the growing demand for body art services in the province, but we also recognize the risk to health that these services pose to customers and employees,” said Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness. “Regulating the body art industry will help mitigate the risk to health, and protect Nova Scotians from the risk of disease.”

The Body Art Act would require operators of personal service establishments who offer body art services to meet standards for infection control and disease transmission.

Colin Green, executive director of the Hepatitis Outreach Society of Nova Scotia says there is a known association between someone having one or more tattoos, and the likelihood of that person having hepatitis C.

“The lack of infection-control guidelines for the tattoo industry has created risks for anyone wishing to decorate their skin,” said Mr. Green. “Regulation of the tattoo industry is a very positive step toward protecting Nova Scotians from infectious disease, and acknowledging the increasing spread of hepatitis C in our province.”

The province will develop a regulatory process and technical guidelines for the industry.

“A form of self-expression, body art comes in many forms, some safer than others, but all carry a potential health risk if they are not done in a safe environment, with proper protocols in place,” said Dr. John Chiasson, president of Doctors Nova Scotia. “Moving forward with legislation of this type will have a positive impact on the health of all Nova Scotians.”

Operators can expect a phased in approach, to allow them time to adjust as measures are developed and put in place.