By Emma Videan
For children under the age of 18, the Welsh Government has banned ‘intimate’ body piercings due to fears of health issues and fears of making young people more vulnerable to abuse. Since 1st February, piercing practitioners are no longer allowed to organise or carry out piercings to the tongue, breasts and eight other areas around the genitals and buttocks to under 18s.
It has been suggested that as children are still growing and developing, these piercings could result in complications to their teenage development. These younger people may also not be educated enough on how to keep the piercing clean and prevent infection, increasing health risks.
The chief medical officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atheron, has said: “It’s concerning that a third of young people with intimate piercings have reported complications following a procedure. The child protection issues that could also arise from this scenario highlight even further the importance of implementing such a law,” he said.
“I hope this piece of legislation will help to reduce these issues, and that practitioners understand the importance of obtaining proof of age beforehand.”
Wales is the first country to officially introduce this law and those that break the law could face unlimited fines.
However, a problem with implementing a law such as this is that this may encourage illegal and ‘underground’ piercings within people’s homes and done by amateurs. However dentists are welcoming this law, as there have been studies that have proved that tongue piercings can bring long-term damage to the mouth and even result in breathing issues.
The Welsh Government have supported their reasoning for this law with a study that found that over a quarter of body piercings on people between the ages of 16-24 have had unexpected complications.