BLAENAU Gwent Council’s Environmental Health Team is currently working hard to tackle the problem of illegal tattooists.
Commonly known as ‘Scratchers,’ illegal tattooists are those who have failed to register either themselves or their premise with the local authority. Even more worryingly, cases of children getting tattoos are also on the increase even though it is illegal to tattoo a person under the age of 18.
Cllr David White, executive member for waste management and the environment said: “In response to this growing problem, Blaenau Gwent is launching a campaign called ‘THINK BEFORE YOU INK’. The purpose of the campaign is to highlight the risks involved in visiting unregistered tattooists - for instance. premises would not have received the appropriate inspections.
"Council officers aim to ensure that the risk of infection is minimised. Risks can range from minor skin infections through to potentially life threatening conditions such as Hepatitis and HIV.”
The campaign will involve awareness raising activities with schools to highlight the dangers of illegal tattooists and to emphasise the life changing consequences which a tattoo can bring.
A council spokeswoman said: "There could be serious long term health effects through to poor artwork and poor tattooing techniques which could result in a poor tattoo people could regret."
As part of this campaign, the council is encouraging anyone thinking of having a tattoo to visit the website and look for the list of registered tattooists who operate in the borough.
These tattooists have been through a series of inspections to help ensure they, and their premises, pass rigorous hygiene checks. Environmental Health Practitioners undertake regular inspections of registered tattoo studios to ensure strict hygiene standards are maintained. Officers now have the power to seize equipment from unregistered tattooists and to request a court to order that they cease operating.
All registered tattooists are required to display their registration certificates. If you know of anyone who may be operating from unregistered premises, or you have received a tattoo from someone who you believe may be unregistered, call 01495 357813. Ask to speak to a member of the commercial team. Alternatively, for health advice, residents are advised to contact their local GP.
Further information on tattooing and a list of registered tattooists in Blaenau Gwent can be found at www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk