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Lancaster, PA has recently proposed an amendment to limit self-taught amateur tattooers — what professionals call “scratchers” — who are giving the industry a bad name. The city cited health concerns and an overall level of quality in the process and product as reasons to ensure that tattooists had at least 18 months’ training under an experienced professional.

The tattoo artists who spoke with Lancaster Online welcomed the change, as they see too much subpar work that required extensive work to repair or cover up. Legacy tattoo artist Ben “Mee” Feld of Tattooing by Mee, whose shop was one of the first certified by the Board of Health, said his apprentices were all signed on at five-year agreements. He pointed out that “we were halfway through before they got near a machine.”