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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2006

Governor Blagojevich signs new regulations to make tattoo and body piercing establishments safer
Law aims to increase number of potential blood donors

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed a new law putting in place new health and safety requirements for tattoo and body piercing facilities. With new requirements, Senate Bill 927 aims to increase the number of potential blood donors by allowing individuals to donate blood within a year of getting tattoos or piercings. Sponsored by Senator Edward Maloney (D – Chicago) and Representative Patricia Bellock (R – Westmont), the new law was an initiative of the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers (ICCBC).

"Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. And, even though the majority of people can donate blood – only about five percent actually do. This new law will give even more people the ability to donate blood – and potentially save a life," said Gov. Blagojevich.

In order to eliminate the risk of virus transmission from donor to recipient, the American Association of Blood Banks requires individuals who get tattoos or piercings from unregulated facilities to wait a year before donating blood. Since the State of Illinois currently does not regulate the approximately 425 tattoo and body piercing establishments that exist across the state, blood banks must turn away individuals with piercings and tattoos.

Senate Bill 927 makes it possible for individuals with tattoos or piercings to donate blood without a yearlong wait. According to the new law, tattoo and body piercing facilities must fulfill health and safety requirements, such as sterilization and sanitation techniques, to receive certification. The new law also requires the Illinois Department of Public Health (DPH) or a designee to inspect tattoo and body piercing parlors to ensure that they comply with state standards. In addition, facilities must renew their registration every year. Facilities can also apply for temporary registrations, valid for a maximum of 14 days, for education, trade show, or product demonstration purposes.

The law allows DPH to charge a registration fee, suspend or deny certification, and create penalties and fines, not exceeding $1,000 per day, for violators. However, the bill also allows a hearing process for establishments that have had their registration denied, suspended or revoked. Fees and fines related to the new registration requirements will accrue in a fund newly created by the legislation. The law requires DPH to issue 75 percent of the fees and fines collected as grants to local health departments for legislation enforcement at the local level.

"Body piercing and tattoo facilities in Illinois will now be regulated," said Sen. Maloney. "This bill is key to protecting the health of Illinois' citizens and a step towards encouraging more individuals to donate blood."

"This bill is good public health policy because it encourages a safe and adequate blood supply. It will assist in preventing the risk of HIV and Hepatitis B transmission by regulating the sterilization of instruments used in tattooing and body piercing," said Rep. Bellock.

"With less than 5 percent of the population donating blood, and an estimated 25 percent of the population having a tattoo, it has created a great hardship for blood centers across the state.  Once the tattoo and body piercing industry is regulated by the state, blood donated by an individual with a tattoo will still have to go through a vigorous testing cycle, which is required by the FDA of all blood, but blood centers will no longer have to turn people away for an entire year.  SB 927 will go a long way in helping maintain a safe and adequate blood supply throughout the state.  SB 927 not only makes good public health policy for the blood centers but for anyone receiving a tattoo or body piercing," said Margaret Vaughn, Government Affairs Coordinator for the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers.

"This bill is a great example of how the medical community and our government can work together to help protect the health of our citizens and keep the tattoo establishments as safe as possible," said Dr. James Herrmann, president of the Illinois Dermatological Society.

"We are very pleased that people who now receive a tattoo from a licensed facility will be eligible for blood donation without having to wait one year. This legislation will allow many people who would like to donate blood the opportunity to do so. And importantly it will result in more blood being available for patients in need," said Jack Prause, CEO of American Red Cross Blood Services.

"The Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators applauds Governor Blagojevich for signing this important piece of legislation which protects the health of Illinois citizens as they enjoy personal freedoms of body art and tattooing," said Alice Foss, Governmental Affairs Coordinator for the Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators. 

Dr. Stephen A. Martin, Jr., Chief Operating Officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health, said he is "pleased that the Governor signed this bill because local health departments will be able to ensure that these establishments are maintained in a healthy manner. The law directs a portion of the licensing fees to pay for the inspections at the local level. Now we can help assure the individual that tattooing and body piercing procedures are hygienic."

“The Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium is pleased to learn today that the Governor has signed the Tattooing and Body Piercing Registration Act. An increase in the popularity in tattooing and body piercing among the mainstream has caused a proliferation of tattooing and body piercing studios. Because tattooing and body piercing carry health risks, including possible exposure to HIV and hepatitis, closer regulation of these activities can only be viewed as a positive and proactive measure to further protecting the public health,” said Steve Curatti, Director of Environmental Health for the Kendall County Health Department. 

Gov. Blagojevich has made public health, safety, and welfare a priority in his administration. The new bill is the latest addition to the Governor’s efforts to maintain public health and safety. Previous initiatives include:

Signing a law to reduce the risk of second-hand smoke and smoking-related fires by banning smoking in dormitories at all public and private colleges and universities in the state;

Toughening the penalties for owners of vicious and dangerous dogs if their pets attack someone;

Requiring nuclear plants to report releases of radioactive contaminants in to the soil, surface water or ground water;

Expanding lead poisoning prevention efforts by limiting the sale of items that have higher lead levels, restricting the application of lead substances to common household items, expanding state inspections of residential buildings, requiring posted notification for lead hazards, and requiring paint stores to display informational posters about the dangers of improper paint removal;

Signing a law mandating inspections of all wholesale drug distributors before temporary licenses are issued, ensuring that safety guidelines are followed.

The bill is effective July 1, 2007.



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