PEPPERELL -- The Board of Health unanimously rejected a request to instate regulations for a tattoo-apprenticeship program in town.
Members said Tuesday night that allowing unlicensed apprentices to work in tattoo parlors could create more problems than it solves.
"We want tattoo artists with licenses, period," said Chairman Phillip Durno.
"We'd just be creating a basket of trouble," he said.
Under the proposal, the Board of Health would have acted as a licensing authority, granting a permit and eventually a license to the apprentice, Health Agent Kalene Gendron said.
Apprentices would have to log a certain number of observation hours, and would not be able to perform any tattoo work on customers before completing those hours. Instead, they would practice on inanimate objects.
Durno said aspiring tattoo artists should go through the existing channels to get a license before seeking work.
Gendron proposed the program to the board after a request from the owner of a local tattoo parlor owner who asked to take on an apprentice but was unable to without a town regulation.
"If he needs help in his establishment, he needs to hire an established tattoo artist with experience. I don't like this apprentice stuff at all," Durno said.
Gendron said she researched apprenticeship programs in other towns, and found that none of the other towns that fall under the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health, as Pepperell does, have tattoo apprentice programs.
She said that Fitchburg and Lowell are the closest places that allow apprenticeships.
"You're not seeing towns allowing the apprentice program, but you're seeing the bigger cities," she said.
Gendron also said many tattoo artists go outside Massachusetts to get their licenses because the regulations here are stricter than in other states.
Board of Health member John Marriner initially suggested tabling the proposal until it was more relevant.
Gendron countered that it was more pertinent now that it would normally be, as there was someone requesting that the program be considered.
Gendron and secretary Sandra Grogan also informed the board that they were planning on purging old records according to state regulations to free up storage space.
Members Virginia Malouin and Marriner asked that Grogan present the board with more information at its next meeting, including a copy of the state regulation, before submitting a request to the state to purge the files.
"Before she purges it, I think the board needs to see what's being purged," Marriner said.
Malouin questioned who would be doing the actual purging of documents, and emphasized that it should be done carefully.
"I would like to see someone who has some training and understands the gravity if an error is made," Malouin said.
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