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OHLA @ 10 Years: EPT Advisory Council
Finding common regulatory ground among diverse professions
While grouping such diverse professional groups may appear arbitrary at first glance, a short regulatory history lesson provides illumination on the formation and potential future of the Advisory Council for Electrologists, Permanent Color Technicians and Tattoo Artists (EPT).
In the mid- to late-1980s, a deadly new virus, HIV, was causing alarm, first among public health officials, and then with the public at large.
Oregon was one of the first states to recognize the public health necessity of ensuring that precautions were in place to prevent infections from HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne pathogens.
Because all three professions use needles in the course of providing services, they were grouped together by legislative action to provide uniformity to state regulations related to health, safety and infection control.
Discussion has focused on forming a body art advisory group representing tattoo arts and body piercing, and moving electrologists to the Board of Cosmetology.
As the Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) continues to facilitate discussion on how best to structure regulatory representation, one issue remains of paramount importance:  safeguarding the public.

Central Issues in Electrology, Permanent Color and Tattoo Arts
Molly Ballew, Advisory Council for EPT 2009 Chair
  • Unlicensed Activity, Tattooing Minors:  OHLA continues to investigate and halt unlicensed and prohibited activity, including tattooing of minors, issuing emergency facility license suspensions and working with law enforcement agencies when necessary.

  • Clarifying Professional Scope:  While they all use needles, the three professions diverge in how services are provided and the intent of the service, necessitating clarification of each profession’s specific standards and issues.

  • Unregulated Sales of Tattoo Needles:  While OHLA does not have the legal authority to halt sales of tattoo needles and equipment to the general public, including minors, discussion has focused on conducting further public outreach to discourage the practice.

Regulatory Timeline
Electrology licensing program is established within the Health Division.
The Oregon State Legislature establishes the Advisory Council for Electrologists, Permanent Color Technicians and Tattoo Artists.
OHLA teams up with public health officials to respond to an outbreak of ear infections caused by an improperly cleaned and disinfected spray bottle in a Klamath Falls jewelry and piercing kiosk.
OHLA launches the Wants and Needles public education campaign to communicate health, safety and aftercare information to schools and health departments statewide.
OHLA launches Piercing Thoughts, a follow-up public education campaign that provides updated information to schools and health departments and generates media coverage statewide.