Tattoo artist Ryein Rawhoof used to give blood before he started getting and giving tattoos. But for every tattoo he added to his body, he would have to wait a year to donate blood. He eventually gave up. A new state law allows Rawhoof and others with fresh body art or a piercing to donate their much needed blood almost immediately.
Tattoo artist Ryein Rawhoof used to give blood before he started getting and giving tattoos.
But for every tattoo he added to his body, he would have to wait a year to donate blood. He eventually gave up.
A new state law allows Rawhoof and others with fresh body art or a piercing to donate their much needed blood almost immediately.
“I will start giving blood now,” said Rawhoof, a manager at Sacred Art Tattoo in Rockford. “I used to love giving blood.”
Jennifer Bowman, spokeswoman with the Rock River Valley Blood Center, said people can donate blood up to six times a year. The old law prevented a lot of people from giving their blood to those who need it, she said.
The Winnebago County Health Department began doing inspections at area tattoo parlors in December, checking all local shops that are licensed through the state.
Anyone who gets a tattoo from a certified shop no longer has to wait to give blood.
The new law doesn’t bother Rawhoof.
“I think we do need more blood donors, and the Health Department needs to do more to regulate the shops in town,” Rawhoof said.
“Having the Health Department involved in tattoo shops is going to help us out immensely. It is going to make our clients feel better, it is going to make us feel better and it makes the state feel better.”
Bowman agrees. The law, which went into effect Jan. 1, gives people a better sense of security, she said. Even though parlors are now being inspected by the Health Department, blood centers will still go through the proper testing procedures to prevent diseases from being passed.
“It just makes sure those services in the community are safe,” she said. “I think most businesses will be proud to do that.”
Margaret Vaughn with the state Coalition of Community Blood Centers said Wednesday that the law became effective in July 2007. But it wasn’t enforced until last summer when the state Public Health Department finished writing inspection codes for body art shops.
Those who got a tattoo in 2009 will still have to wait the full year from the date they got inked to donate blood, Bowman said.
GateHouse News Service contributed to this report. Reach staff writer Matt Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-987-1389.