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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week signed legislation that will require tattoo and body piercing studios in New York State to use single-use needles and single-use ink for all procedures performed within their establishments.

“Reusing tattooing or piercing needles poses potentially serious and life threatening health risks,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new law is an important step toward preventing the spread of infectious diseases and in holding accountable those who don’t take the proper precautions.”

State law previously did not hold tattoo or body piercing specialists to any standard regarding the products and materials used for tattooing or piercing. This bill (S.1421/A.1334) will now require tattoo and piercing specialists to use single-use ink and needles during all tattoo and body piercing procedures. Single-use ink and single-use needles come in sealed, sterile packages and are intended for only one use.

In addition, the new law will require both the specialist and the person receiving the tattoo or piercing to sign a consent form confirming that the specialist: (1) presented all single-use materials to be used during the procedure in a sterile and sealed package and (2) opened all single-use materials in the presence of the person receiving the tattoo or piercing. The new law will require the tattoo or piercing studio to give a copy of the consent form to the person receiving the procedure and require the studio to retain a copy of the form for at least seven years.

This bill would take effect 120 days after becoming law.

Senator David Carlucci said, “Currently, there are no rules or regulations requiring a tattooist or body piercing specialist to be held accountable for the materials used through reused needles and ink. Hepatitis C is a very serious, deadly disease, and I am happy that together with Governor Cuomo and Assemblyman Zebrowski, we are able to provide the public with tools they need protect themselves and prevent the spread of Hepatitis C.”

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski said, “This legislation is a commonsense measure that establishes basic, necessary guidelines for how materials are used in tattoo and body piercing studios. The reuse of inks and needles can easily spread disease, and requiring single-use materials will reduce the risk of transmission and ensure these procedures are conducted in a safe manner. This law will bring new standards to what is a somewhat unregulated industry. I’d like to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this critical bill into law which will protect consumers.”

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