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Benson, Riley, Wagner & Ramos Bill to Establish Mold Exposure Limits In Residential Buildings Approved by Assembly

Bill Would Also Create Certification Program to Help Protect Public Health & Safety

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel R. Benson, Celeste M. Riley, Connie Wagner and Ruben Ramos requiring the state to establish standards for exposure limits to mold in residential buildings and certification of mold inspectors and abatement workers was approved 61-16 by the full Assembly on Thursday.

The bill (A-1588) would require the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in consultation with the state Department of Health and Senior Services to establish standards for exposure limits to mold in residential buildings, and procedures for the inspection, identification, and evaluation of the interior of residential buildings for mold.

“This creates rules and regulations that currently don’t exist to protect the public health and safety against mold,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Mold presents a particular problem for sensitive populations like children or people with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems, and right now there is no agency they can call to get help when it comes to mold.”

“Mold can exacerbate health problems including asthma and allergies in children, and currently there are no standards to control its harmful potential,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Other states have passed laws establishing guidelines, and now it’s time for New Jersey to follow suit and protect its residents against the health risks that can be caused by mold.”

“Mold can be hazardous even at low levels given the length of time exposed. Guidelines and guidance on mold abatement in residential buildings should have been established before now,” said Wagner (D-Bergen and Passaic). “We have a chance to strengthen policy and increase protection for families of residential buildings with this legislation. Protecting our families and children against health and safety hazards are top priority.”

“Considering the health implications, it is hard to believe that there are currently no regulations concerning mold, or no agency that a person whose health or property has been compromised by mold can call for assistance,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). “This bill makes up for this failure by putting in place guidelines to help protect the public against the health threats associated with mold exposure.”

Under the bill, the DCA would also be required to: (1) establish standards for mold hazard abatement procedures including specialized cleaning, repairs, maintenance, painting, temporary containment and ongoing monitoring of mold hazards or potential hazards; and (2) establish a certification program for persons who inspect for the presence of mold hazards in residential buildings and who perform mold hazard abatement work in residential buildings.

However, residential property owners who are not certified under the bill may perform mold inspection and mold abatement work on their own property.

Additionally, the bill would require any person performing work in school facilities to be certified under the mold hazard inspection and abatement certification program established under the bill.

On the first day of the sixth month following the adoption of these rules and regulations, any person who inspects for the presence of mold hazards in residential buildings and performs mold hazard abatement work in residential buildings would be required to be certified by the DCA.

The DCA must adopt the standards within a year after the bill is enacted into law.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.