TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Nia H. Gill (D-Essex) and Paul A. Sarlo (D-Bergen) to allow the state to revoke or suspend the license of medical professionals and waste handling companies found guilty of violating the state’s medical waste anti-dumping laws has been signed into law by Governor Christie.
“When medical waste is illegally dumped in our waters or onshore it places the health and safety of our residents at risk,” said Senator Gill, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. “This law will provide the state with the means to not only file criminal charges and recoup costs for damages incurred, but also to bar those who engage in this conduct from doing business in New Jersey. This is the right thing to do to ensure the well-being of our residents, the protection of our environment and the safety of our state.”
The measure (S-2190) stemmed from a 2008 incident in which several New Jersey beaches were forced to close before Labor Day weekend after medical waste washed ashore. Approximately 260 syringes, cotton swabs and other medical waste were found in Avalon, Cape May County, leading borough officials to close the beaches numerous times. Thomas McFarland Jr., a Philadelphia dentist who owns a Jersey Shore summer home, was charged with intentionally dumping the waste that caused the Avalon closings. He admitted to taking his small motor boat into an inlet in the borough and dumping a bag of waste from his dental practice in Wynnewood, Pa. McFarland received four years probation and was ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to the borough of Avalon.
“The illegal dumping of medical waste in our waterways is an incomprehensible act that threatens the reputation of our state, as well as our state economy,” said Senator Sarlo (D-Bergen). “This new law will send a message that improper disposal of medical waste will not be tolerated and will result in severe punishment. Any person or company that engages in this conduct will risk losing the ability to practice in New Jersey.”