WISNIEWSKI, McKEON BILL TO IMPROVE ROADWAY WORKER, ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH ADVANCES

Measure Would Prohibit Manufacture, Sale, or Use of Reflective Roadway Glass Beads with High Arsenic Content

(TRENTON) — Legislation Assemblymen John S. Wisniewski and John F. McKeon sponsored to prohibit the use of reflective glass beads with high arsenic content in state roadway projects was released Monday from the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee.

“There is no place for a known carcinogen like arsenic on New Jersey’s roadways,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), chairman of the transportation panel. “Our zeal to protect motorists should not come at the expense of road crews and the environment.”

Inorganic arsenic is a hazardous substance, utilized in glass and ceramics manufacturing, and is recognized by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration as a human carcinogen.

Under the Wisniewski/McKeon bill (A-1448), reflective glass beads — commonly used in roadway paints and road surfaces — that contain more than 75 parts per million inorganic arsenic would be prohibited from being manufactured, sold, offered for sale, or offered for promotional purposes in New Jersey.

It would further prohibit the state Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and the South Jersey Transportation Authority from utilizing roadway marker paint that has been mixed with reflective glass beads containing large amounts of inorganic arsenic.

“Utilizing roadway materials with unusually high arsenic content is socially and environmentally unsound,” said McKeon (D-Essex), chairman of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. “It creates a health hazard for the workers who handle the materials and a contamination hazard for the surrounding environment.”

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 11-0-1. It now heads to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.

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