The Tattoo (Single Use) Law for New York State

A lot has been written about this and I don’t know that I personally have much to add to the discussion. I did want to post a few relevant items here however.

The Legislation as it stands now : S1421-2015

An article that ran in the local Democrat and Chronicle that was picked up by USA Today : Article

The Petition you can sign if you disagree with the wording as it stands now : Petition

The information I posted on August 27th :


A really thoughtful and well written letter sent to Albany by one of my clients who put this all more eloquently than I could :

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to address the newest legislation that was just signed concerning the tattoo industry in New York State, specifically the regulation of pre-packaged single use inks.

I am not a tattoo artist, I am a customer. I have used the services of three different artists, and been in a handful more shops. My current and favorite artist has created several tattoos for me. I have been able to see her standard operating procedures on at least ten separate occasions ranging from five to eight hours each. I have also seen her work on another customer, and watched other artists in her shop with their own clients.

My artist has successfully owned and operated her tattoo business for over twenty years. She has opened a second shop, employs several artists, and has educated several apprentices that have gone on to be wonderful artists in their own right. I have also been able to see her work in other shops as a guest artist.

I am not a medical professional; but have had training through my work, university and LMT education in safe SOP’s, health and safety, and blood borne pathogens. I understand both the risks and the appropriate precautions that need to be used to assure the safety of myself, my artist, and the customers who would come after me.

My artist maintains the highest level of health and safety in her shop, and holds all of her artists and apprentices to the same level of care. I have watched her set up our work station every time, and I always watch her open the single use needles, and see her check them under magnification to make sure they are acceptable. She maintains safety standards with barriers, coverings and gloves as do all of her artists. I have heard her educating her apprentices in safety, and on my last visit I even got to hear the new guys talk amongst themselves about good practices and cleanliness. At the conclusion of tattooing I have also had occasion to observe the break down. I have seen all the used ink cups and needles disposed of, and watched the cleaning of the station; each time to my complete satisfaction.

I have had several large pieces that use a great quantity and variety of ink. My artist has large bottles of ink that are used to fill the small throw away cups. She always uses the disposable ink cups and they are dispensed in a way that prohibits cross contamination. We have discussed the inks she uses, and the companies available to purchase from; both good and bad. Over the past couple of years, I have had many questions and she has always been knowledgeable and forth right with information.

On my last appointment we talked about this new legislation and the problems that will arise from it if it goes through as currently worded. She told me that the companies that currently make the single use ink shots are of a lower and/or questionable quality, and she uses a much higher ink with proven safety records. I only have second hand information on the ink qualities, but I trust my artist. I did a lot of research to find someone I trusted with my safety!

My part of the discussion centered on the added cost burden of individual one use packaging of ink. My pieces are richly colored, with a lot of variety. The amount of different inks used in each of my tattoos is really high, and I can imagine the cost of all those colors in tiny individual packages would be grossly cost prohibitive. During our conversation, I likened the individual inks to the food stuff in restaurants. I imagine that if restaurants had to follow the same restrictive guidelines on their condiments or side dishes, and had to have individually packaged pickle containers for each hamburger ordered; none of us could ever afford to eat out. Imagine a  deli that had to order bread in individually sealed packs of two, just the amount for an individual sandwich. To be even sillier, imagine someone wants a club; the server would have to open another package of two, and then dispose of the extra piece since it would not be used for this diner. Instead, all restaurants follow safety and contamination guidelines, and they buy their food in economical bulk sizes and dispense safely.

If this legislation goes through as worded, my artist would be forced to use lower quality inks; and the cost of my work would be astronomical. Good quality tattoo artists that don’t take shortcuts will be forced out of their living because a tattoo would become too expensive for most customers to have. There would also be a rise in the amount of people trying to make a tattoo on their own, at the kitchen table with friends because they could not afford to get a tattoo in a regulated shop. This will lead to more infection and disease, because these non-professional untrained people have no knowledge in safety and cross contamination.

I will conclude by saying that I do not know the wording that should be used in legislation, but I urge you to do your due diligence in the field you are attempting to regulate. I believe you have a duty to the community, and you would do a disservice to us all if you did not go into the field and speak to the artists themselves. I have met many wonderful, articulate and safety minded tattoo artists that would be a real asset in your education into the safe tattoo, please find them!

I thank you for your time, and hope that these words will help make positive change instead of detrimental legislation.

~ by justteejay on September 12, 2015.

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