For more information call the Waste Management Division at 513.946.7879

Public health sanitarians inspect and license tattoo and piercing establishments to ensure safe and sanitary conditions are being maintained. Anyone considering a tattoo or piercing should be aware of the risks and follow certain guidelines when choosing a tattoo or piercing establishment. The most recent inspection reports can be viewed here.

Health and Safety Information
If not done properly, tattoos and body piercings can come with serious health side effects. Anyone who is considering a tattoo or body piercing should seriously consider the health risks and the long-term effects associated with tattoos and piercings. You should get a tattoo or piercing from a reputable facility that is licensed and inspected by the local health district.

Employees at licensed establishments are trained to ensure that procedures are done in a way that minimizes the transmission of communicable diseases and the risk of infection. Employees are also required by the state to be trained in first aid, control of transmission of infectious disease, universal precautions against blood-borne pathogens and appropriate aftercare.

The following steps should be taken after a child receives any tattoo or body piercing; these steps are particularly important if the procedure was performed at an unlicensed facility: 

  • If the child appears to be ill as a result of the tattoo or piercing, contact your regular health care provider immediately. If you do not have a regular health care provider, visit the nearest Urgent Care location or contact the Health District at (513) 946-7800. 
  • Whether the child is ill or not, parents should contact the health department in their area to determine if the facility is licensed. If proof of licensure can not be provided, parents should take their child to their regular health care provider to be analyzed for exposure to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

What to look for when choosing a safe tattooist: 

  • Ask to see a copy of the establishment’s current operating license. 
  • Never perform tattooing at home. 
  • Make sure the establishment looks clean, the practitioner is a licensed professional and follows basic sanitary procedures. 
  • Look for proper lighting and a sink to wash hands within the establishment. 
  • Cleaning products and sterilizing equipment (such as autoclaves) are available and used.
  • Autoclaves are the only acceptable sterilizers. 
  • Make sure disposable razors; ink caps; sterile needles and new, clean sterile gloves are used for each tattoo client. All items should be used only once. 
  • Skin is cleaned before tattooing. 
  • Look for previous work done by the tattooist. Check for pictures on the wall or a binder/portfolio with photos of work that tattooist has done. 
  • Make sure proper consent forms are used. A parent or legal guardian is required to be present when anyone under the age of 18 receives a tattoo in the state of Ohio.

Guidelines to follow for safe body piercing:

  • Ask to see a copy of the establishment’s current operating license. 
  • Never perform body piercing at home. 
  • Make sure the practitioner washes hands between customers and that he/she uses brand new, disposable piercing needles and a new, clean pair of sterile gloves for each piercing client. All items should be used only once. 
  • Make sure the establishment looks clean, the practitioner is a licensed professional and follows basic sanitary procedures. 
  • Make sure you are given detailed follow up instructions and follow them exactly as written. After-care piercing is very important and determined by the area pierced. Piercing above the neck requires different care than piercing below the neck. 
  • Make sure proper consent forms are used. A parent or legal guardian is required to be present when anyone under the age of 18 receives a body piercing in the state of Ohio.

Signs of infection: 

  • Skin is sore/tender/painful at tattoo site 
  • Skin is red at tattoo site 
  • Discharge from skin around tattoo 
  • Fever

If any of the above symptoms occur, call your physician immediately. Then call the Health District to report your information, (513) 946-7879.