New Ohio Rules for Body Art

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The Ohio Department of Health and a committee of industry leaders have redefined the rules for body art for the first time since the late 1990s.

Starting September 1, the new rules will be in effect. A key revision in the rules centers on minors. Now, anyone under the age of 18 cannot have their nipples or genitals pierced even with parental consent.

LeeAnn Wilson is a program specialist for the Ohio Department of Health. She said that restricting minors in this area was necessary.

"They're minors," she said. "They are still growing. It can cause issues with that and they don't really understand most of the time what it is that they're getting. It can also create problems for the artists themselves."

Patrick McCarthy is the owner of Piercology in Columbus. He's been in the business for 23 years and sat on the committee to help rewrite the rules. He said the new rule regarding minors is something he is happy to see.

"As a professional studio, we wouldn't touch a minor when it comes to genitals or nipples," he said. "In the last 23 years I can think of three parents that brought in their kids to get it done. We refused them then and we will refuse them now…It hasn't been challenged, but it could be construed as sexual assault." 

McCarthy said in general the new rules are a great step towards further legitimizing the industry.

"It just makes us more professional," he said. "There are practices that we do now that weren't even around 18 years ago. We had to redefine definitions and redefine procedures."

The Ohio Department of Health sent committee members around to seven Ohio cities to teach both health inspectors and those in the industry about the new rules and procedures.