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New state law restricts body piercing of young people

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Albany is cracking down on the body piercing of young people, under legislation signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The governor's office says until the bill was signed there were controls on tattoos of people under the age of 18 while there were no such controls for body piercing. The new law changes that by requiring written permission from a parent signing in the presence of the owner of a piercing shop.

That's fine to Cowpok owner Keith Krollman, whose shop is in Allentown near several of high schools. Krollman says he has been in business for 20 years by having rules.

"The parent has to be here. They both have to have ID and their last names have to match. If they don't, they have to have a marriage certificate,  something with the other name on it. We're very strict," said Krollman.

Even before the new law, Krollman says he wouldn't pierce anyone under 18 without an adult and won't do anyone under 15. He says says his shop on Elmwood Avenue is rigid about cleanliness, but he says not all are.

"I wish that the rules and laws were a little bit more strict. There's still people out there using dirty stuff -- people spreading hepatitis, spreading MRSA. It's not clean enough, yet," Krollman added.

The governor says around 20 percent of body piercings lead to infection and there there is a risk of hepatitis. The law will take effect in 90 days.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.