The New Jersey Department of Health issued guidance last week concerning the management of mercury-containing floors in New Jersey schools.

Between the 1960s and early 2000s, a number of companies manufactured and installed mercury-containing flooring systems in school gymnasiums and all-purpose rooms around the United States. This flooring was installed using a catalyst known as phenylmercuric acetate, which helps produce a solid, rubber-like floor.

Studies have shown that, over time, some of these flooring systems may emit mercury vapor into the indoor air under certain conditions. It is important to note that not all synthetic flooring contains mercury, and that not all flooring that contains mercury emits mercury vapor into the air. In schools that do have mercury-containing flooring systems that emit mercury into the air, the level of mercury vapor in the air varies and is dependent on factors such as temperature, ventilation, and the condition of the floor.

See the guidance issued by the N.J. Department of Health here.

For more information, see an article in the NJSBA’s magazine, School Leader, here.