Busselton professional tattooists are warning parents to be on high alert for unregulated “backyard” tattoo operators who they believe are causing a health issue in the community.
Danny Turner and Paul Liversidge from Elite Tattoo Studio said they knew of about 10 or 15 people in Busselton who were using cheap tattoo equipment in backyard operations and some had tattooed children as young as 13.
The pair said the health implications of using backyard tattooists should be highlighted especially to parents of teenagers.
They warned of a risk of diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and AIDS spreading when equipment and operations did not follow the required health and safety regulations, as well as scarring, welting of the skin and infections.
“These people are playing on people’s emotions, gullibility and people don’t know the damage they could be doing,” Mr Liversidge said.
Tattoo businesses are required to notify the City of Busselton and be assessed for compliances with the Health (Skin Penetration Procedures) Regulations 1998 and the Skin Penetration Code of Practice. of cheap online supply of inferior equipments and since it had been glamorised by television shows such s Miami Ink and LA Ink.
Mr Turner said their operation used hospital-grade cleaning facilities whereas backyard operations wouldn’t prepare or clean a person’s skin to be tattooed.
He said the designs were amateur and were giving professional tattoo artists a bad reputation.
Mrs Gillett said medical advice should be sought for any health-related problem from a tattoo operation and concerns about operators should be reported to the City.
“Approved tattoo premises are required to work with high standards of infection control to reduce the spread of diseases,” Mrs Gillett said.
“People who choose not to attend these regulated premises may place their health at very significant risk and the City would strongly recommend that people do not use services operating in a manner inconsistent with the relevant legislation.”
Mr Liversidge said about 40 per cent of his work was for “cover-ups” to address bad work completed by backyard operators.
He said the problem had increased in the past couple of years as the result The premises would be regularly inspected by environmental health officers.
The City confirmed only one business was regularly inspected in the area.
An approved tattoo business would also be subject to development approval applications, building licences and health assessment applications.
City of Busselton environmental health officer Tanya Gillett said there had been occasional reports of unregistered tattoo operations in the city area which were investigated and responded to, as circumstances required.