Death sparks calls for piercing guidelines
The death of a St. John's girl from an infection caused by a breast piercing is sparking national calls for tougher industry regulation.
The 17-year-old died March 9, one week after getting the piercing. A coroner confirmed she died of toxic shock syndrome as a result of the piercing.
Now, some people who work in the industry say they would like to see Canada-wide guidelines.
Mike Grant, who runs a tattoo and piercing studio in Victoria, BC, said strict national rules would do more to guarantee the industry is safe.
"We understand that surgical steels release nickel salt into the body, creates infections in piercings, or open wounds, or in surgeries or implants," said Grant.
"Only titanium should be used. That's a regulation that I follow, which I don't have to, but I do because I know it's the right thing to do."
Grant said he would like the entire country to impose rules similar to the ones already in place in Winnipeg – that city made changes to its tattoo bylaw earlier this year to include all body modifications.
Tattoo and piercing studios in Winnipeg need to be licensed and employees need to pass a certification exam.
A worker with the city, Peter Parys, said the bylaw also includes fines and surprise inspections.
"If somebody went underground, technically, they would be contravening the bylaw," said Parys.
"We know through past experience when we worked with the tattoo bylaw that, sooner or later, we would become aware of these and then conduct proper investigations."
Newfoundland and Labrador's minister of health, Tom Osborne, said this province is considering tougher regulations.
In the meantime, Grant said it is unfortunate more provinces did not consider imposing new regulations sooner.
"I knew it was going to happen, I've been saying it for years – I knew that somewhere, sometime, someone was going to die and it was going to open Canada's eyes."