PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 26, 2012

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Indoor Tests of Monmouth County Courthouse for Wide Range of Chemicals
Within Normal Ranges Courthouse to Reopen to Staff, Public Tuesday

Testing of the indoor air of the Monmouth County Courthouse for a broad range of chemical compounds indicate all results are within normal ranges. Based on those results, the courthouse can reopen tomorrow, according to the state Department of Health and Senior Services. The courthouse was closed June 18 after dozens of courthouse employees exhibited symptoms of illness.

The state Health Department collected 10 air samples last week and tested the samples for a wide range of  "volatile organic compounds such as benzene and various chemicals found in cleaning agents and the findings were well within acceptable limits," said state Epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan. A battery of additional tests for pollen, mold, dust, common allergens and other indoor environmental quality measurements were conducted by county and local officials last week and also found to be within normal ranges.

The compounds that were identified were such that would normally be found in common household cleaning products, candles and deodorizers. "Monmouth County officials have done everything that should be done to thoroughly clean the courthouse over the past week," Dr. Tan said.

The State Police Hazardous Materials Unit tested on June 18 for volatile compounds, and the county's environmental consultant followed up a day later with tests for dust, pollen and mold. Those test results also were within normal ranges.

Judge Lawrence Lawson, assignment judge of the Monmouth County vicinage who has continued to oversee court operations since the disruption of court events in the courthouse, said, "The health and safety professionals from the state and county have been looking out for the safety of our court employees and court users from day one. We are grateful to them for their hard work and are relieved to get back into the courthouse tomorrow and have operations return to normal.

"I urge those with questions to check njcourts.com throughout the day for updates on court operations," Judge Lawson said.

Members of the public who may have lingering concerns can call the Department's Division of Consumer, Environmental and Occupational Health Service at 1-609-826-4920 or visit www.state.nj.us/health.