BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Scotland
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Gillian Sharpe reports
"It's frightening what some people do - and don't - do
 real 28k

Thursday, 28 September, 2000, 07:48 GMT 08:48 UK
MSPs get to the point of piercing
eyebrow piercing
Body piercing can be dangerous
The Scottish Parliament is being asked to support a call for a scheme to regulate body piercing salons.

Stirling MSP Dr Sylvia Jackson has put forward a motion after she was alerted by a salon in her constituency.

The Royal College of Nursing has also highlighted the dangers recently, following a number of horrific incidents.

A 12-year-old girl was taken to hospital with severe blood poisoning, after concealing her infected navel piercing from her parents.

And an otherwise fit and healthy 19-year-old woman collapsed in her mother's care about four hours after having her tongue pierced and a bar-bell inserted.

The manager of the Stirling piercing shop which contacted Dr Jackson said he saw lots of piercings which have gone wrong.

Parents get angry because we refuse to pierce children as young as nine

Thomas Tully, Outer Limits

"There are the embedded piercings," said Outer Limits salon manager Thomas Tully.

"And then there are the parents who get angry because we refuse to pierce children as young as nine."

Mr Tully said because youngsters had less resistance to infection and frequently changed their minds, no reputable salon would pierce them.

'Impossible to stop'

But he believed it had become too easy to start a body piercing salon.

"We feel it should be a recognised and regulated profession.

"At the moment anyone can set up with the least training simply to cash in on the fashion."

Dr Jackson agreed piercing has moved out of the underground world of punks in recent years and into the mainstream.

Pierced nose and lips
Piercing is now in the mainstream
She said the Royal College of Nursing also recognised that it was impossible to stop and that was why better controls were urgently needed.

Dr Jackson said "best practice" had to be established.

"Body piercing does carry a risk of hepatitis , HIV and wound infections.

"It is essential that a national regulatory framework is set up."

At the moment some London boroughs have limited licensing powers, but it is a free-for-all in the rest of the UK.

"People are doing it in unsuitable environments - like hairdressers and corner shops," said Mr Tully.

Dr Jackson wants the Scottish Executive to bring interested parties - local councils, public health officials and doctors - together with the body piercers.

She said that would be the first step, in establishing how the industry should be controlled.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

30 Jun 00 | Health
Tongue piercing health warning
04 Apr 00 | Health
Call for body-piercing crackdown
20 Jul 99 | Health
Tongue in chic
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories