NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A7986
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in
relation to eliminating the installation or covering of mercury-contain-
ing flooring in elementary and secondary schools
To ensure gymnasium floors located in public and nonpublic schools do
not contain mercury.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one adds a new section to the environ-
mental conservation law §27-2219 to phase-out of mercury-containing
flooring. All public or nonpublic elementary or secondary schools shall
be prohibited from installing mercury-containing floor nor shall any
school install a floor over a mercury-containing floor prior to removal
of the floor.
The bill sets a time-welghted average mercury vapor exposure limit for
employees or students do not exceed 750 ng/m(3).
§ 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
Mercury vapor is harmful to human health. Children are even more suscep-
tible,in large part due to their developing body systems, size, behav-
iors, and metabolic capabilities. Exposure can result in memory loss,
tremors, respiratory failure, and even death. Recent studies have shown
that one of the culprits for exposing children to mercury vapors are old
gymnasium floors in schools. Rubber-like gymnasium floors commonly
installed in the 1960s-1990s often contained mercury. These floors have
begun to deteriorate and some schools have taken measures to install new
wooden floors over the old floors. Some of the old deteriorating floors
are now emitting mercury vapors, even in instances where new floors have
been installed over the old mercury-containing flooring.
In late April 2019, Miller Place High School discovered mercury vapors
during renovations of its gymnasium. The mercury levels found in the
gymnasium exceeded the allowable standards set in other states. Due to
the nigh levels, the school was forced to close the gym. Other states
like New Jersey and Minnesota nave experienced the same issues and have
The Minnesota Department of Health has taken aggressive action and put
forward recommendations that the general public not to long-term expo-
sures. Minnesota recommends that gym teachers should not be exposed to
more than an average of 750 ng/m3 during a 40-hour work week and chil-
dren should be limited to the same standard measured at 16 hours per
week averaged over the school year. This bill matches these
standards since it is important standards since it is important New York
take action to protect our children and teachers.
To be determined.