The Environmental Health Unit (EHU) responds to and investigates a limited number of indoor air quality complaints. Every call is evaluated and involvement by this office depends on a number of factors such as type of health effect and potential source of concern. There are no current standards for indoor air quality in residential structures. Indoor air quality complaints from private workplaces are referred to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Marlton, NJ (1-856-757-5181). Indoor air quality complaints from public employees are referred to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) - Public Employee Occupational Safety and Health program at 609-984-1863. The Unit does assist municipalities and schools upon request to perform initial assessments of potential IAQ concerns. The Environmental Health Unit responds to indoor air quality emergencies along with the Atlantic County Office of Emergency Preparedness. Calls for emergency assistance are usually received by local fire and / or police departments. This office receives many inquiries on mold. Upon request, the Unit will send mold and other IAQ information to residents free of charge. This includes information on indoor environmental quality consultants, laboratories and mold remediation firms. An updated list of these firms is available at the NJDHHS website below. The majority of mold problems in indoor environments are a direct result of water or moisture accumulations. We strongly advise residents to seek professional assistance to correct, repair or remove sources of moisture prior to hiring specialized IAQ firms. Remediation of mold is generally not recommended until water / moisture sources have been eliminated. This office supports the nation-wide effort to encourage all residents that have combustion appliances (natural gas, fuel oil, propane, etc.) to install carbon monoxide detectors.
Many residents have questions about Radon gas. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in soil and rock. It is invisible, odorless and tasteless, and can only be detected by specialized tests. Radon enters homes through openings that are in contact with the ground, such as cracks in the foundation, small openings around pipes, and sump pits. Radon, like other radioactive materials, undergoes radioactive decay that forms decay products. Radon and its decay products release radioactive energy that can damage lung tissue in a way that causes the beginning of lung cancer. The more radon you are exposed to, and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of eventually developing lung cancer. Testing your home for radon is easy and homes with high levels of radon can be fixed (mitigated). The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recommends that all homes be tested for radon. Further information on Radon levels found in Atlantic County (Radon Potential Map) and testing your home can found at the DEP link below.