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In December 2010, Michigan enacted Public Act 375 that covers the health and sanitary aspects of tattoo and body art operations and requires body art facilities to be licensed by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). This law states that "individuals shall not tattoo, brand, or perform body piercing on another individual unless that tattooing, branding, or body piercing occurs at a body art facility licensed by the MDCH."

The enactment of this law was a joint effort by tattoo artists, local health departments, the State of Michigan, as well as the Red Cross to have a law that protects the public’s health, blood supply, as well as the reputation of good tattoo artists. This act gives guidelines to tattoo artists and legal means to the local health department to ensure sanitary processes and operation. 

The CCPHD Environmental Health disivision is charged with inspecting and licensing body art facilities. Since this law is relatively new, there are still a large number of “artists” running clandestine operations, usually out of their home. In Calhoun County alone, for every legal operation, there are another 5-8 illegal operations. A large number of patrons who visit illegal “artists” for tattoos are unfortunately youth. In the State of Michigan, any person under the age of 18 must have legal guardian present during procedure. 
The health risks associated with this unsanitary and clandestine type of tattoo “artist” are the ability to contract hepatitis B and C, HIV, staph, as well as tetanus. The problem with many of these bloodborne pathogens is the symptoms are not easily detected. The good news is that with proper training and procedures, the acceptable risk is close to zero. However, as with any medical procedure, there is always a risk. 
For more information or for a list of safe and inspected body art facilities, visit or contact the CCPHD Environmental Health offices.

Calhoun County, 315 West Green Street, Marshall, MI 49068 | Phone: (269) 781-0700
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