State Listening to Concerns About Possible Change to Tattoo Regulations

A proposed update to the regulation of tattoos has prompted concerns, and the Kentucky Department of Health said late last week that it is listening.

A proposed amendment to the state's tattoo regulation (902 KAR 45:065) was filed in April by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The intent, the cabinet said, was to address changes that have taken place in the tattoo industry over the last fifteen years. The regulation was last updated in 2004.

One intended change was to address potential health issues of tattooing over unhealthy skin, including recent or healing scar tissue. Because of such potential risks, some states currently restrict tattooing of skin that has a rash, evidence of an infection, open lesions, or recent scar tissue. 

“The specific language in the proposed regulation had some unintended consequences and will be addressed," said Department for Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Dr. Jeffery Howard. "The process requires the Cabinet to propose a regulation and then take comments from the public to make sure that the final product does what is best for everyone.”  Howard further stated, “We are glad to have the public’s input and we believe the final regulation will be improved by the comments we have received.”

The regulation is still open for public comment and is subject to change. DPH plans to address the language regarding tattooing over scarred skin once the public comment period has ended on May 31.

-Staff report

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