Taking a significant step forward in tackling the issue of mold in New Jersey, an Assembly panel approved legislation Monday sponsored by Assembly Democrats Dan Benson and Benjie Wimberly that would require the state to establish procedures for inspection and abatement of mold hazards in residential and school buildings as well as certification of mold inspectors and abatement workers.
The bill (A-1433) would require the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in consultation with the state Department of Health and the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development to establish rules and regulations that establish procedures for the inspection, identification, evaluation and abatement of the interior of residential and school buildings for mold.
“Given the increased number of severe weather events in our state, now more than ever, we must ensure protection of public health and safety against mold in our homes and schools,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This legislation creates much-needed rules and regulations that currently don’t exist. We must ensure protection of overall public health and safety against mold.”
“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,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This bill gives residents a place to call when there is a problem and they need information.”
Additionally, the bill would require any person performing work in school or residential buildings to be certified under the mold hazard inspection and abatement certification program established under the bill, unless a district employee engaged in routine maintenance of a school facility owned or managed by their employer would not be required to complete the certification programs in order to address the presence of mold in the school. The DCA would be authorized to charge an annual fee for the certification, require the successful completion of a course of continuing education or training for certified inspectors or abatement workers at least once every two years, and conduct examinations to determine an applicant’s proficiency with respect to state and federal laws, rules, and regulations and any standards or requirements applicable to the inspection or abatement of mold hazards.
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 or school facility and performs mold hazard abatement work in residential buildings would be required to be certified by the DCA.
This measure comes after The Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee held a hearing on mold safety in New Jersey and was approved by the committee on Monday.