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Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Call for skin piercing controls
eyebrow piercing
Registration is not required, except in Edinburgh
The Scottish Consumer Council has called for tough new controls on skin piercing.

It says the growing trend for body piercing carries a significant risk of harm and infection.

The Scottish Executive is currently looking at tightening up the regulations.

It is thought there are about 200 skin piercing businesses in Scotland, some run from homes or on a mobile basis.


Skin piercing carries a significant risk of harm and infection for customers and it is unacceptable that there is no regulation governing these practices

Graeme Millar, SCC chairman
At present, with the exception of Edinburgh, skin and body piercing businesses are not required to register before beginning to practice.

Anyone can set themselves up as a piercer. There are no controls and they do not need any qualifications or training.

Without stringent checks the fear is infections such as Hepatitis or even HIV could be transmitted.

The Scottish Consumer Council wants piercers to be registered, regularly inspected and to undergo training.

It is also calling for clear warnings to highlight potential dangers and the long-term consequences of procedures which are likely to be irreversible.

The chairman of the SCC, Graeme Millar, said: "Skin piercing carries a significant risk of harm and infection for customers and it is unacceptable that there is no regulation governing these practices.

"We want to see a licensing system for practitioners with powers to withdraw the licence if there is evidence of poor practice or failure to meet standards."

Tattooing of minors

The executive is looking at a range of measures, including adopting guidelines and introducing new licensing rules through existing or new legislation.

The only current control over any element of skin piercing in Scotland is the Tattooing of Minors Act 1969, under which it is a criminal offence to tattoo a person under 18 years.

Skin piercing in that context can include ear piercing, tattooing, acupuncture, electrolysis, cosmetic body piercing and semi-permanent make-up.

In Edinburgh, acupuncture, tattooing, ear piercing and electrolysis come under a registration scheme operated by the local authority.

However, this has limited regulatory sanction and serves mainly to ensure that the council is aware that these practitioners are trading in Edinburgh.

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See also:

19 Jan 01 | Scotland
Safety move on body piercing
28 Sep 00 | Scotland
MSPs get to the point of piercing
30 Jun 00 | Health
Tongue piercing health warning
04 Apr 00 | Health
Call for body-piercing crackdown
20 Jul 99 | Health
Tongue in chic
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