Aerosolized Liquid Disinfectants in New Jersey Ambulances Put MONOC Employees at Risk

By workinjury on January 31, 2011

Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Service Corporation (MONOC) employees have reported experiencing various symptoms including migraines, nausea, asthma, eye irritation, skin irritation, and other ailments. The Professional Emergency Medical Services Association of New Jersey (PEMSA) stated the symptoms may be linked to pesticide fog used to disinfect ambulances.

According to an NJ.com article, use of the aerosolized liquid disinfectants began in May of 2009 and complaints of different health complications as well as odors in the ambulances were reported in June of that year. The article states that over 100 MONOC employees have complained about showing signs of illness that they claim stems from exposure to the disinfectant chemical Zimek QD.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have initiated investigations to find out if ambulance workers’ illnesses can be scientifically connected to the alleged exposure.

While these investigations are pending, labor and environmental advocacy groups have stated that the way in which the disinfectant is applied to the ambulances (as an aerosol micro-particle mist), violates the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). These advocacy groups also claim that, because of the proprietary technology involved, the EPA is not prepared to make an accurate assessment of whether the disinfectant dispersal machine, as well as the “fog” it creates, is safe for human exposure.

According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, about 3,600 occupational illnesses were identified among New Jersey’s private sector workers in 2009. Fifty-eight percent of these cases (2,100) were categorized as any contracted due to work-related exposure that did not fall into the following separate categories: skin disorders, respiratory conditions, hearing loss or poisoning. Moreover, about 39% of all occupational illnesses affected those in the healthcare and social assistance industry sector.

Workplace injuries and illnesses from on-the-job hazards in New Jersey can impose serious physical, financial, and emotional challenges for a worker. The New Jersey workplace injury attorneys at Blume Forte have the legal resources and experience to handle a wide range of work-related accidents. Contact our firm to learn more about your legal rights. Call 973-635-5400 for a no-cost consultation.

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