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A Day in the Life of an Environmental Health Professional Blog

Did you know that NEHA has a blog that follows the work of environmental health professionals across the country, and even that of staff members from the NEHA office? You can find all these blogs at To give you a taste of what we've been posting, below is the text from an April 2016 blog that was authored by Solly Poprish, NEHAs Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Associate Program Intern.

Together with the body art industry, the Food and Drug Administration, the Association of Food and Drug Officials, and state and local regulators, NEHA is working to revise its Body Art Model Code (BAMC). The group is working to update the BAMC in a way that is reflective of current body art trends and procedures, as well as ensure it is relevant and implementable to industry professionals.

Earlier this year, I accompanied a local environmental health specialist on a body art studio inspection. The tattoo shop had a very cool aesthetic with exposed brick, art, and repurposed decorations on the walls; the tattoo artists were friendly and accommodating.

Reid Matsuda is a body art studio inspector for the City and County of Denver. He provided me with insight into the inspection process and what individuals getting tattoos should look for when patronizing a studio.

"The biggest thing I would stress in terms of what patrons should look for is that the artists are opening the packaging in front of them. Some artists like to set up and prep for a client and that is great--as long as the sterilized items stay in the sterile packaging until the client is there to witness the sterile seal being broken. Otherwise, you never really know what is sterile and what isn't," Matsuda shared with me.

He went on to say, "Also make sure they offer extensive aftercare instructions and bandage the wound prior to leaving. If for a second you feel like you are in a production line, step away. This is a piece of art that is going to follow you around for the rest of your life and if artists or managers don't give you the time to thoroughly explain risks and care, you are in the wrong place."

As tattoos become more and more popular, it's important to recognize that getting work done at a studio that does not properly follow appropriate health codes can lead to serious repercussions.

As an inspector, the main things that Matsuda looks...

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