Iowa Tattoo Laws



1. A person shall not own, control and lease, act as an agent for, conduct, manage, or operate an establishment to engage in the practice of body piercing without first applying for and receiving a permit from the Iowa department of public health. For the purposes of this section, "body piercing" means the piercing of the human body, other than the ear lobe, for purposes of ornamentation or pursuant to religious or cultural tradition.

2. A minor shall not undergo body piercing, other than piercing of the ear lobe, and a person shall not perform body piercing upon a minor, without the consent of a parent or guardian. For the purposes of this section, "minor" means an unmarried person who is under the age of eighteen years.

3. A person who fails to meet the requirements of minor is guilty of a serious misdemeanor.

4. The Iowa department of public health shall: a. Adopt rules pursuant to chapter 17A and establish, collect, and retain all fees necessary to administer this section. The provisions of chapter 17A, including licensing provisions, judicial review, and appeal, shall apply to this chapter.
b. Establish minimum safety and sanitation standards for the operation of body piercing establishments.
c. Establish minimum standards for individuals performing body piercing.

5. If the Iowa department of public health determines that a provision of this section or a rule or standard adopted or established pursuant to this section has been or is being violated, the department shall have the authority to order that a body piercing establishment not be operated until the necessary corrective action has been taken. If the establishment continues to be operated in violation of the order of the department, the department may request that the county attorney or the attorney general make an application in the name of the state to the district court of the county in which the violations have occurred for an order to enjoin the violations. This remedy is in addition to any other legal remedy available to the department.

6. The provisions of this section shall not apply to persons who perform body piercing pursuant to a recognized religious doctrine or cultural practice upon persons for whom the undergoing of body piercing has religious or cultural significance. The performance of body piercing pursuant to this subsection shall, however, be subject to review by the Iowa department of public health regarding the existence of an asserted religious doctrine or cultural practice, and whether minimum safety and sanitation standards are being observed.