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If parents haven't succeeded in discouraging young people from having their bodies pierced or tattooed, the Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee has set down regulations that will force establishments that offer such services to warn potential customers as well.
In 60 days, the new regulations - approved by the committee on Monday - will require piercing and tattoo parlors to post signs at the entrance with warnings that these procedures are "not medically desirable. They are liable to result in pain, infections, scars, disruptions in body functioning and other medical problems such as allergic reactions. They must not be performed on people who suffer from chronic illness, especially those with heart valve problems, and pregnant women."
The committee, headed by Gil Pensioners Party MK Moshe Sharoni, added the regulations to those relating to business licensing and hygienic standards required in non-medical services performed on the human body. At present, children under 16 require a parent's written permission to be tattooed or pierced.
The new regulations require the use of a special disposable needle, sterilized or disposable equipment and the washing with soap and water of the practitioner's hands before working on each customer. He or she will wear disposable latex gloves while piercing or tattooing, and if working on the genitals, sterile gloves and a surgical mask will have to be worn.
A condition for being allowed to perform these procedures will be to undergo a short course approved by the Health Ministry on how to prevent infection.
MK Arye Eldad, who is a trained plastic surgeon, persuaded the committee to add these words on the warning signs: "If you previously had a protruding or rigid scar after surgery or injury, you are liable to develop the same thing as a result of piercing or tattooing. It is recommended that you consult with your family doctor."
Sharoni insisted that the regulations must be enforced and not left on paper alone. He urged the Health Ministry's and local authorities' inspectors to visit tattoo and piercing parlors and check whether they fully observe the regulations. Punishment for violation is up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to NIS 67,000.
During the committee meeting, Dr. Dror Guberman, head of the ministry's department of medical services and community medicine, said the ministry completely opposes tattooing and piercing because doctors regard them as harmful to health.
"The aim of the regulations is to ensure that if carried out, they will be done in a way that poses the smallest threat to customers," he said.
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