AMERICAN SOCIETY OF
SAFETY ENGINEERS

1800 East Oakton Street
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018-2187
847.699.2929
FAX 847.296.3769
www.asse.org

April 5, 2004

Senator Anthony R. Bucco, Jr.
New Jersey Senate
State House Annex
PO Box 068
Trenton, NJ 08625-0068

RE: Including Appropriate Safety, Health and Environmental Professionals in S. 1249

Dear Senator Bucco:

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is an international organization that represents more than 30,000 safety, health and environmental (SH+E) professionals dedicated to workplace safety and health. Of those 30,000 members, about 800 work and live in New Jersey and belong to at least five ASSE chapters either in New Jersey or just outside the state, including chapters in Newark and Trenton. ASSE's members are committed to seeing that every American worker has the best possible opportunity to go home healthy and safe from their jobs. As the enclosed fact sheet indicates, ASSE is the largest professional occupational safety and health organization and, founded in 1911, has been in existence by far the longest.

ASSE is writing to ask on behalf of our New Jersey members, that your bill, S. 1249, the "Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2004," be amended to include a more appropriate representation of SH&E practitioners than only Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs) on the Mold Task Force S. 1249 would establish. Specifically, we ask that S.

1249 be amended to include a new paragraph in Section 2 of the bill:

"Safety Professional" shall have the same meaning as used in P.L.2002, c.50 (NJSA Title 56:8-115 et seq.).

Then, in paragraph 3a, we ask that the following underlined addition be made to the list of public members:

The public members shall include a representative with expertise on the health effects of molds, a certified industrial hygienist, a safety professional, a representative with knowledge of mold abatement techniques, a representative of commercial and industrial tenants, a representative of commercial or industrial property owners, a representative of an environmental group, a representative of the home builders, and a representative of the insurance industry.

ASSE's members include many CIHs and our Industrial Hygiene Practice Specialty is one of the fastest growing areas of ASSE membership. But, CIHs are not the only SH+E practitioners capable of managing mold analysis and remediation. In fact, the CIH designation - or any SH+E designation, for that matter -- in and of itself does not make an individual capable of doing such work. That capability comes from the unique experience and training that a variety of SH+E practitioners have, including safety professionals who, like CIHs, are also recognized in New Jersey law. As the suggested amendment above cites, the New Jersey Legislature recognized safety professionals in 2002 when it passed the "Safety Professional Truth in Advertising Act."

This addition to the Mold Task Force would help ensure that a wider and more appropriate professional perspective will be represented as New Jersey struggles to deal with this difficult issue. Legislators like you who are leading the mold effort in other states have recognized this and made necessary changes to their bills (relevant portions of which we have copied into a single document accompanying this letter):

  • In Florida, ASSE and its members are recognized in a mold practitioner registration bill (HB 1215) introduced this year by Representative Domino. ASSE is included as an organization qualified to set eligibility requirements for mold practitioners.
  • Likewise, in New York, the introduced version of a mold task force bill this year by Senator Marcellino (SB 896) included ASSE as an authority on mold.
  • In Illinois last year, a resolution (House Joint Resolution 12) was adopted by the Legislature establishing a Joint Task Force on Mold in Indoor Environments that, at ASSE's request, was expanded to include not only CIHs but also accredited certified safety, health, and environment professionals, which is another, more encompassing way of describing ASSE's members

Though ASSE takes no overall position on your bill, we commend you for your leadership in tackling this difficult issue. A state mold task force could serve to bring reason to what has been an emotionally charged issue. Nevertheless, we caution you on setting time lines for a task force to make recommendations or set permissible exposure limits that, from a scientific viewpoint, simply cannot be met at this time. ASSE's enclosed position statement on mold as it concerns occupational safety and health reflects the most anyone can say about the health risks posed by mold at this time. Science simply does not know enough yet to be able to determine permissible exposure limits, and, without more research, it is difficult for to predict when it will.

Thank you for your consideration of our request. We are certain that the amendment will help ensure that the best possible professional resources are made available to the task force. If ASSE and its members in New Jersey can be of any assistance to you as you deal with this challenging issue, we encourage you to call on us.

Sincerely,

James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP
President

 

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