Are your rights as a piercee being violated?

December 11, 2008

I haz rights?

Yes, thanks to the Association of Professional Piercers, who crafted and promulgated them, there’s a Piercee’s Bill of Rights.  Knowing what they are will go a long way toward making you an informed Pierced Consumer.

Have your rights been violated?  Are you exercising your rights when you’re looking for a piercer or getting pierced?   You don’t have to take it!  I want you to complain if you are not given the opportunity to have a safe, clean, skillfully done piercing. It’s up to you to take responsibility for getting safe, healthy piercings, and demand, from yourself and from your piercer, that these rules be followed. March! Protest!  Organize! Chain yourself to redwoods . . .


Okay, maybe I’m getting a little carried away. (Calm, I am calm . . . ) Anyway, without further ado, here they are:

A Piercee’s Bill of Rights

1.  To be pierced in a hygienic environment by a clean, conscientious, sober piercer wearing a fresh pair of disposable medical examination gloves.

2.  To be pierced with a brand new, completely sterilized single-use needle that is immediately disposed of in a medical Sharps containing after use on one piercing.

3.  To be touched only with freshly sterilized and appropriate implements, properly used and disposed of or re-sterilized (where appropriate) in an autoclave prior to use on anyone else.

4.  To know that piercing guns are NEVER appropriate, and are often dangerous when used on anything–including earlobes.

5. To the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their piercer knows and practices the very highest standards of sterilization and hygiene.

6.  To have a knowledgeable piercer evaluate and discuss appropriate piercings and jewelry for his/her individual anatomy and lifestyle.

7. To be fully informed of all risks and possible complications involved in his/her piercing choice before making any decisions.

8.  To seek and receive a second opinion either from another piercer within the studio or from another studio.

9. To have initial piercings fitted with jewelry of appropriate size, material, design, and construction to best promote healing.  Gold-plated, gold-filled, or sterling silver jewelry is never appropriate for any new or unhealed piercing.

10. To see pictures, be given a tour of the piercing studio, and to have all questions fully and politely answered before making or following through on any decision.

11.  To be fully informed about proper aftercare, both verbally and in writing, and to have continuing access to the piercer for assistance throughout the healing process.

12. To be treated with respect, sensitivity, and knowledge regardless of tender, sexual orientation, race, religioins, ethnicity, ability, health status or piercing choice.

13. To change his/her mind, halt the procedure and leave at any point if the situation seems uncomfortable or improper.

These are so important, that there will be more about each of these rights in later posts. But just for fun, did you know there was a:

Patient’s Bill of Rights

Library Bill of Rights

Digital Consumers Bill of Rights

Taxicab Riders Bill of Rights

Math Anxiety Bill of Rights

the sadly failed Passengers Bill of Rights;

And, just in case you slept through your Civics Class, THE Bill of Rights

Thanks to the APP, The Commons at Flickr, The Library of Congress,   The New York Taxi & Limousine Commission, and MSNBC

I want to hear from you if your rights as a piercee have been violated–drop me a comment!

How to find a safe piercing studio

December 2, 2008

Image via Wikipedia

The following is re-posted, with permission, from piercer John Lopez, who was featured here earlier.   The Pierced Consumer is all about being the smartest piercing customer you can be, and here are some pointers from the other side of the needle:

Be a Smart Customer! Yes, I’m Talking to You!

It never ceases to amaze me just how many bad customers I have.  My impression is that about 75% of the people who walk into my shop have no clue at all about what goes on in a shop.  I’d go further and say that only about 1% actually ask the right questions and investigate safety concerns.  I’m not name-calling or trash-talking, just stating my observations.

It has been over three years since a customer walked in and asked to see my Autoclave Spore Test results! [Note: The image to the right is an autoclave.] Three years and not one request to see proof that our sterilization procedures work.  I believe the vast majority of people know that sterilizlation takes place in shops, so why don’t people ask about it?  The public appears to blindly trust our industry to be honest, professional and ethical.  If they only knew the truth!

I live in a very small city right now and I’ve lived and worked in San Diego, San Francisco & Seattle as well.  It’s the same everywhere I go:  A couple good shops surrounded by many bad shops.  By “good” shops I mean “safe” shops where strict Cross Contamination Controls and Decontamination Protocols are in place.  Completely ignoring skill and quality and only looking at safety, I’ve observed very few “good” shops in my 16 years in this industry.

Be a good customer.  Here are just a few SIMPLE things to ask when you visit any shop . . . yes, even your “regular” shop:

  1. Spore Test Results. Autoclaves should be tested regularly –at a minimum of monthly, preferably weekly.  Independent Lab Results should be available upon request.
  2. OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Training (citation omitted).  Usually in certificate form, but may also simply be logged in training documents.  Ask to see the Exposure Control Plan.  Don’t actually try to read it–just the fact that its’ there says way more than you might realize.
  3. Decontamination Room. Decontamination is the process of returning a contaminated item to a sterile state.  This process must take place entirely in a designated area separate from the shop’s work spaces.  Often the Decon areas are referred to as the “sterilization room(s).”

In my opinion, if these three things are being done correctly and openly the shop takes its role seriously and most likely you’ve found a “good” shop.  Hopefully the work coming out of that shop is also good.

Don’t be afraid to ask.  Don’t be afraid to [research] and get more information if you need it.  Don’t ignore your gut-instincts.  If you are uncomfortable at all just leave.

Instead of price shopping, go out safety shopping

Thanks again John for these great tips.  Be part of the one percent!

Originally posted here at Tribalectic.