Body-piercing parlours 'should face tougher rules'

Body-piercing parlours should be regulated to protect young people from the growing risk of infection, allergic reactions, and scarring, nurses said yesterday.

As the fashion for body-piercing has grown, led by role models such as the Spice Girl Mel B and the singer Robbie Williams, so have the numbers of people injured by it including some whose lives have been put at risk. The Royal College of Nursing's congress in Bournemouth heard a catalogue of examples of piercings that had gone wrong.

Lesley Chivers from Bristol told how two 13-year-old girls who had had their ears pierced successfully recently went to have their navels done. They paid £25 each to a body-piercer in Hereford who warned them not to wear tight clothes but gave no other advice.

Three weeks later one of the girls noticed her navel was red and inflamed. The following morning her mother tried to get her out of bed and found her feverish and delirious. She was admitted to hospital for rehydration and treatment with antibiotics and now has an unsightly scar.

Natalie Tidy said treating complications caused by body-piercing was costing the NHS £1.5m a year. These included allergies to the nickel often used in place of surgical steel, haemorrhaging and blood-poisoning, leading in rare cases to septicaemia. In a survey of GPs in Rochdale 95 per cent said they had had to deal with complications from body-piercing.

Ms Tidy said: "Shouldn't there be regulation of a practice which could be described as an invasive surgical procedure?"

Ear-piercing is regulated under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and children under 14 must have parental consent. But the Act does not extend to body-piercing. London boroughs can require body-piercers to register and undergo regular inspection but there are no similar powers outside the capital. Linda Fennell from Belfast told the Congress that any nurse who felt overworked or underpaid had a lucrative alternative in body-piercing. "You can complete a three-day course, or buy a video, or get it over the internet and for £100 you are in business."

She added: "There is greater protection for ear-piercing than genital piercing."

Ann Brady of the Society of Paediatric Nurses said: "It is only a fashion and a fad but it has long-term adverse effects. It is young children of 12 or less trying to emulate their idols. They don't have the knowledge the piercer should have and they don't have the knowledge to ask the right questions. These are the children left with bad scars and infections."

The Department of Health said two years ago that ministers favoured extending the powers of London boroughs to the rest of the country, but this has not happened.

Ms Brady said: "Will something only be done when some famous idol dies?"

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Sport
Manchester United's kit for the 2014/15 season
football
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
peopleNobel laureate was a powerful anti-Apartheid voice
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Technical Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £450pd

    £400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Technical Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £450pd O...

    Marketing Comms / Digital Marketing Specialist

    Not Specified: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role exists for a...

    Search Engine Optimisation/ SEO Executive

    £25000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Excellent opportun...

    Junior Professional Services Consultant - SQL, Implementation

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading prov...

    Day In a Page

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

    Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
    Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

    The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

    Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
    Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

    Meet Japan's AKB48

    Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
    In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

    Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

    The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor