The Iowa Senate has overwhelmingly voted to force body piercing or "body modification" shops to get a state health permit — just like tattoo parlors. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, says he wants to make sure body piercing shops are practicing good hygiene.
"There’s been concern about the issue of Hepatitus C and some concern about sanitary conditions," Bolkcom says. "This is an effort to make sure that those businesses are paying attention to those issues. In addition, it has some stiffer penalties for those people who basically operate without permits." The bill also forces minors to have parent consent before they can get their body pierced, unless it’s their earlobe.
Senator David Hartsuch, a Republican from Bettendorf who is a doctor, says he’s treated a lot of infections caused by body piercings. "And some of them can get kind of extreme," the doctor/senator says.
"With body modification, we’re starting to see…dividing the tongue, genital mutilation. There’s also a thing called face binding or binding of the feet even — to try to change the basic structure of the face or other body parts." The bill now goes to the House where its future is uncertain.