That Whole Rigamarole

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Any Reason to Hope

... that a reporter could think logically about a central issue in a story? The front page of today's Tulsa World has a story about tatooing (subscription required.) Oklahoma is the last State in which tattooing is technically illegal and unregulated. Apparently the idea that tattooing could be legalized without accompanying licensing and regulation did not occur to anyone in this area. An important assertion from the story:
Dr. Edward Brandt, chairman of the Council on State Legislation of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, said the likelihood of transmission of hepatitis and other infectious diseases is increased under the unsanitary conditions found in unregulated tattoo parlors.
Really? Got any facts? Well, later in the article, State Health Commissioner Mike Crutcher is cited:
Since 2000, he said, Oklahoma has seen a 78 percent increase in new hepatitis C cases. Crutcher said 34 percent of these individuals reported being tattooed.
At no point does the article indicate that anyone has actually contracted hepatitis in an unregulated tattoo parlor. Is it really too much to expect a reporter to try to find out how much illness the proposed regulations could prevent? I suppose it's possible that hepatitis is spreading this way instead of through intravenous drug use, but given the article's silence on that point, and this CDC statement, I'm guessing it's not likely.


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