February 26, 2013
Re: “Be Sure to Prepare Before Clean-up and Repair” Department of Health Informative Flyer
As New Jersey recovers and rebuilds from Hurricane Sandy, many New Jersey residents are working to repair their homes and businesses. It’s important to know that mold and materials containing asbestos are dangerous health hazards and people should take steps to ensure their safety before repair work begins. Home and business owners, workers, and volunteer groups conducting clean-up and repair should protect themselves by wearing, gloves, masks, protective eye wear and boots.
An informative flyer, “Be Sure to Prepare Before Clean-up and Repair,” is available for download on the New Jersey State Department of Health’s website. It contains helpful tips and safety information for those cleaning-up after Sandy. Please feel free to distribute this flyer throughout your community. The flyer is available at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/er/documents/prepare_before_cleanup_flyer.pdf.
The flyer is suitable for posting in town halls, post offices, libraries, recreation centers, repair and supply stores and other areas where people impacted by Sandy are present.
The flyer advises people to look for signs of mold if they are returning to buildings or homes with water damage. People should examine walls and ceilings to see if they are discolored and be aware of any musty, earthy smells that may be present. If either of these conditions are present it is likely that mold may exist.
When cleaning mold, wear rubber gloves and boots, goggles, and an N-95 mask. Be sure to open doors and windows to get fresh air when you use bleach, and use a shop vacuum with an HEPA filter to trap dust. Never mix bleach with ammonia when cleaning mold. Also people should remove items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and that cannot be thoroughly dried such as leather, paper, wood and carpet. Asbestos is also a serious health hazard when conducting remediation on homes and businesses. Over 3,000 commercial products contain asbestos including: Vinyl floor tiles, roofing shingles, covered hot water pipes and heat resistant fabrics.
If asbestos is inhaled it can lead to serious health effects including lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. People should be sure not to touch materials they suspect may contain asbestos, as fibers may be released into the air. Residents are advised to contract with an inspector, certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for inspection and testing if they suspect asbestos is present.
We thank the Department of Health for sharing this information with local officials, who can make it available to residents and business throughout New Jersey.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.