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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 21:42 GMT
Minister signals body piercing laws
Daniel Trindle and his brother Joseph
Daniel hoped to pursue a career in music
The government has pledged to introduce legislation to regulate body piercing following an appeal by the mother of a teenager who died after having his lip pierced.

Health Minister Hazel Blears said the government wanted to take "every opportunity" it could to tighten the rules governing cosmetic piercing.

But she could not be precise about when the legislation might be introduced.

The minister said she had also asked the Department of Health to consider carrying out a feasibility study into the health risks arising from body piercing.

There are lots of children out there will all sorts of health problems and they need to be made aware of the risks
Christine Anderson
Her comments will be seen as a partial victory for Christina Anderson, whose son Daniel Trindle died in December last year of septicaemia - two months after he visited a Sheffield studio to have a ring fitted to his lip.

The A-level student, who had battled against a potentially fatal heart condition since birth, fell ill just days after the piercing.

Research

Ms Anderson has been campaigning for the government to ensure local authorities take charge of regulating the body piercing industry.

The mother-of-six claims her son was never asked detailed questions about his state of health, and she is angry that as he was under 18, she was never asked to give permission for the procedure.

Daniel's mum Christina Anderson
Christina: 'I've lost my best friend'
Daniel's case was raised by Labour MP Meg Munn during a debate in the House of Commons on Thursday.

The Sheffield Heeley MP argued that there was no statutory requirement for practitioners to find out how old a person was before piercing them or whether they had a health problem like Daniel.

She called on the Department of Health (DoH) to commission research on the risks of body piercing and to ensure proper advice and after care is given.

Investigation

Mr Blears confirmed the DoH was looking into carrying out a specific study, but she said an age limit for piercing might encourage youngsters to pierce themselves or go to disreputable studios.

A consultation exercise in 1996 concluded that there should be legislation to give local authorities outside London specific powers to regulate body piercing businesses, she said.

Labour MP Meg Munn
Munn: Wants body piercing regulations tightened
"I cannot be absolutely precise about when it might be possible to introduce legislation, but we certainly want to try to take every opportunity we can."

Ms Blears said it might be possible to include the measures in the Local Government Bill.

The government would also be considering the outcome of an investigation by Sheffield City Council into the circumstances surrounding Daniel's death.

Typical teenager

Before the debate, Ms Anderson told BBC News Online: "If I can prevent one family from facing the heartbreak we have suffered, then Dan didn't die in vain."

The mother-of-six said it was only during a chance conversation with her son that she learned that he wanted to have his eyebrow pierced.

"I didn't take him seriously," she said. "You know what teenagers are like.

"I just said, 'what do you want to put a hole in your face?' Because he didn't go on about it, I didn't take any notice.

"I didn't think it was a serious procedure. I thought it was simple, straightforward and everyone was having it done.

Daniel Trindle
Daniel: Lead guitarist in a local band
"When he came home I was shocked to see he'd had his lip pierced. He was very proud of it.

"It was swollen, but Daniel wasn't concerned."

But within days of having the piercing, Daniel fell ill. He stopped eating, went to bed and Ms Anderson called a doctor, who she says, claimed Daniel had gastroenteritis.

Another doctor eventually admitted him to hospital. He spent two weeks in intensive care at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital, but his on-going heart problem meant he needed to be transferred to its coronary care unit.

Tighter regulations

Daniel, lead guitarist in Sheffield group Jack Names the Planets, was later moved to Papworth Hospital where doctors hoped that a heart transplant might help.

Daniel was too weak for surgery and he spent his last days at Leeds General Infirmary. He died of septicaemia on 21 December, last year.

Ms Anderson, from Richmond in Sheffield, is adamant in her belief that the septicaemia was the result of the lip piercing, and she is now anxious to get government support for greater regulation of piercing studios.

She and her family have set up a website, called Danaid, to highlight the problems of body piercing.

Ms Anderson said: "There are no laws regulating body piercing - there is just a voluntary code.

"There are lots of children out there will all sorts of health problems and they need to be made aware of the risks.

"Daniel wasn't made aware of this, yet there was more risk to him fighting infections because of the problems he had."




SEE ALSO:
Nose stud row keeps pupil at home
12 Mar 01 |  Education
School exclusions rise by a third
04 Feb 03 |  Politics
Four year olds excluded from school
27 Nov 02 |  Education
Heads' warning over appeals panels
24 Oct 02 |  Education


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