Salem health board looks at rules for tattoo shops

SALEM – The Salem Health Department is looking at establishing local rules for tattoo establishments to go with state rules already in place, Health Commissioner Richard Setty said.

He advised city health board members about the plans during their meeting Wednesday morning, saying local rules can address issues and reduce complaints regarding tattoo businesses.

The city of Salem has three tattoo establishments, all three licensed by the health department and in compliance with state rules. Setty said most of the complaints they receive deal with infections, which can’t always be proven, and sometimes questions over the condition or abilities of tattoo artists themselves. They also get complaints about people doing tattoos in homes, which isn’t permitted.

He said none of the establishments in the city have been sanctioned for any violations, but he felt the rules needed to be tightened up.

“This will be to everyone’s benefit,” he said.

He asked city sanitarian William Hayward to look at Mahoning County’s local rules and work on a draft of local rules for the Salem Health Department to adopt. Mahoning County’s rules require a certain number of hours for an apprentice to complete to ensure they have received sufficient training and talks about equipment sterilization.

Setty said they’re exceeding expected revenue this year for tattoo licenses by $450 since three renewed their licenses instead of just two.

In other business, Setty noted they had received 25 letters of interest or resumes so far for the vital statistics clerk position. The last day to submit resumes is April 2. City Council approved an ordinance last week to create the position.

He reported the Internet service through AT&T was being upgraded and would make the service faster and they would save $5 a month. The current cost is $45 per month, but the bill will be reduced to $40 per month.

The next health board meeting will be 10 a.m. April 17.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at