RICHMOND COUNTY HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT
127 Caroline Street
Rockingham, NC 28379
Not all tattoos are the same, neither are all tattoo artists. North Carolina requires that tattoo artists and their tattoo parlors be inspected and permitted by their local health departments. In addition, a person must be at least 18 years of age to be tattooed in the State of North Carolina. Any person found violating the tattooing law shall be guilty of a Class 2 Misdemeanor. Currently in Richmond County there are two permitted tattoo parlors with two permitted tattoo artists each. These parlors and artists are permitted annually and inspected at least three additional times throughout a fiscal year. The inspection process includes a review of records for compliance, a full sanitation inspection of the tattooing area, a review of the tattooing procedures and techniques, and verification of sterilization procedures. Prior to permitting, each artist must have completed an annual OSHA certified Bloodborne Pathogen training. Unfortunately there are also a number of individuals who tattoo illegally within the county.
The Environmental Health Section of the Richmond County Health Department has taken note of several individuals who have made posts on social media networks of tattooing that has taken place in private homes, workshops, hotels, etc. There are documented risks associated with tattoos such as infections and allergic reactions. Infections are related to the use of unsterile tattooing equipment and needles that can transmit infectious diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis, and skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus "staph" and other bacteria. Tattoos received by illegally tattooing individuals are not regulated by the local health department may prevent a person from being accepted as a blood or plasma donor for twelve months. These infections can require prolonged treatment with antibiotics. In addition, allergic reactions associated with certain shades of ink have been reported. Although rare, these adverse reactions may be particularly troublesome because the pigments can be hard to remove and the illegal tattooing individual may be difficult to locate in order to identify the exact source.
Therefore, when considering getting a tattoo, consider the risks that are associated with the procedure. Keep in mind that a cheap tattoo is not always the best option. Also keep in mind that getting a tattoo from an individual who is not permitted is not a good choice. If there is ever a question of who is permitted and who is not just ask to see a copy of their North Carolina tattoo permit or call Richmond County Health Department Environmental Health Section at 910-997-8320.