2020 Flooring Initiative
The New Jersey Department of Health recently published guidance for the evaluation and management of a certain type of flooring that may contain mercury. The New Jersey Department of Health guidance document may be found on the NJDOH website:
Concerns regarding these flooring types have been the subject of news reports that have highlighted school districts in New Jersey and across the nation. The flooring types in question include rubber-like and water-resistant materials that are typically poured polyurethane that utilizes phenyl mercuric acetate (PMA) catalysts. These materials were historically installed in school multipurpose rooms, auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums between the 1960s and the early 2000s. Testing has revealed that materials containing PMAs can break down over time and release odorless, colorless mercury vapor.
SDA Flooring Initiative
The SDA, in consultation with the NJDOH and in accordance with their guidance document, advanced a multi-step initiative in 2020 to evaluate flooring materials installed in SDA-delivered school facilities. SDA conducted site visits of more than 140 school facilities in SDA Districts. Of these facilities, approximately 30% were determined to have poured polyurethane flooring systems for further evaluation.
SDA then engaged qualified environmental professionals to perform bulk sample testing and evaluation of those identified flooring types. Bulk sample testing identified whether air monitoring was appropriate. SDA continues to work, in consultation with SDA school districts, to complete air monitoring activities in school facilities, where necessary. Upon completion of these activities, SDA will work with school districts to replace or remediate any flooring systems, if needed, in accordance with NJDOH guidance.
For general questions regarding the Department of Health’s mercury guidance, please contact the NJDOH - Consumer, Environmental, & Occupational Health Services at 609-826-4920.
For any questions regarding the SDA testing process specifically, please contact Ron Carper, NJSDA Director - Environmental Services at 609-858-5375.