Township of Mahwah, NJ
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February 2, 2006

The regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Board of Health of the Township of Mahwah, held at the Municipal Offices, 475 Corporate Drive, Mahwah, New Jersey, was called to order at 8:00 PM by President, Wendy DeSilva. The Opening Statement was read according to the Sunshine Law and was followed by Roll Call.

PRESENT: Mrs. DeSilva
Mr. LaMontagne
Mr. Harris
Mrs. Tracey
Mr. Wasson

ABSENT: Mrs. Spiech
Mr. Ackerman

PROFESSIONALS: Mr. Mason, Attorney
Mr. Hopper, Health Officer
Mrs. Homler, REHS
Mrs. Campbell, Secretary


Moved by Mr. Wasson and, seconded by Mr. Harris and, agreed by all present, the minutes of the meeting of January 12, 2005 were approved.

Mr. Wasson inquired if results had been returned for the stool samples collected at Ramapo College. Mrs. Homler answered that the samples were negative for salmonella and other bacteria. Mr. Wasson indicated that it was probably viral. The county epidemiologist will provide a report on the incident.


Moved by Mr. Wasson and, seconded by Mrs. Tracey, that the Health Activities Report be approved.

Mr. Wasson noted that the state licenses nail salons, and asked what inspections were required of the local health department. Mr. Hopper replied that locally, routine inspections for sanitary conditions and licensure are performed to assist an understaffed State Health Department. Primary responsibility for these ventures however, lies with the State Board of Beauty Culture.


Mrs. DeSilva asked if we received many complaints regarding nail salons. Mrs. Campbell responded that many of the complaints centered on air quality within the establishment. Mrs. Homler stated that patrons will also call regarding the sanitization of implements and whether cutting of cuticles was legal.

Mr. LaMontagne opined that the fumes from CHR Hansen this evening were, once again, overwhelming. Mr. Ostrow has already paid a visit to the establishment; Mr. Hopper will have him follow up on this.

There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Activities Report for January 2006 was unanimously approved.


Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mr. LaMontagne, that the Health Officer’s Report be approved.

Mr. Hopper apprised the Board of the Council’s favorable reception to our 2006 budget proposals; a straw poll indicated approval. He also thanked Mr. LaMontagne and Mrs. Spiech for their support by attending the hearing. Mr. LaMontagne commended Mr. Hopper on an excellent presentation. Further hearings will still be held but final word will probably come some time in March.

Mr. Wasson asked for additional information regarding the survey of first responders. Mr. Hopper explained that the purpose of the survey was to identify how much and what types of medication would be required by first responders and their families, in the event of a bio-terroristic attack. The State will be supplying this medication; distribution would be the responsibility of the local Office of Emergency Management in conjunction with the Local Health Department.

Mrs. DeSilva requested the status of recruiting Health Professionals for the March Health Fair. Mr. Hopper stated that thus far, he has signed on a dermatologist to conduct skin cancer screenings and a dentist to conduct oral cancer screenings. He is still seeking the services of a podiatrist. Mrs. DeSilva asked Mr. Hopper to recount the date and time of the event: Wednesday March 29th from 10:00 am to 1:00pm. This event will be open to all Bergen County residents over 60.


Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mrs. Tracey and, unanimously agreed by all present to pay the bills for January.



None. Mr. Harris asked if there were any new developments in the Vista Bahn site plan that we had tabled. Mr. Hopper stated that there was a great deal of local opposition, and it was unclear whether this application would come to fruition. Mr. Harris asserted that due to the slopes involved, our board would have a significant say, in terms of the proposed sewer system. Mr. Hopper stated that we still had not received the specifications on the ejector pumps which Mr. Ostrow had requested some time ago.

Mr. Harris noted there was a great disparity in price and quality of the ejection systems available on the market. He asked if there were any State recommendations or guidelines for this equipment. Mr. Hopper was not aware of any State minimum requirements or guidelines. Mrs. DeSilva voiced concern for a back-up power source. Mr. Harris stated that it would be up to the building inspector to require this; it is not generally included as a standard part of these systems.




Mr. Mason reported that in accordance with the Board’s directive, he had given Bergen Community Health Care until the end of January to respond to his written demands for our files. Earlier this week, he had faxed Alice Schroeder with his cell phone number soliciting her cooperation. Ms. Schroeder phoned Mr. Mason today; as a result of their conversation, Mr. Mason concluded that in order to resolve this issue, he will have to speak directly with BCHC’s attorney. Ms. Schroeder and her superiors are standing by their interpretation of HIPAA and will not surrender the documents.

Mr. Mason has achieved a modicum of success retrieving several of the active files. He added that BCHC seems somewhat less reluctant to surrender the files directly to us, versus handing them over to HARP.

Mr. Mason will try to work out a cooperative agreement giving BCHC access to the documents, while we retain custody of the originals. Ms. Schroeder has indicated that they are short-staffed, that there are 18 years worth of records and they will need to charge us for copying, handling, etc. Mr. Mason would like to avoid the expense and delay this would involve. Mr. Hopper is amenable to a cooperative agreement.


Mr. Harris asked if the Department had adequate facilities to store 18 years worth of medical records. Mr. Hopper responded that legally, we will make whatever accommodation is necessary; we are required to keep each record for 10 years, or until the child’s 23rd birthday. Mr. Wasson inquired if we followed a state mandated retention schedule; Mr. Hopper responded affirmatively.

Mrs. Tracey inquired what BCHC’s interest was in maintaining access to our residents’ records? Mr. Mason responded that BCHC’s position is that our residents (who attended the various clinics) are their patients. Mr. Mason will be communicating with Mr. Hopper on the progress of the transition, probably within the next week.


Mrs. DeSilva asked for the status of the lead poisoning case which Mrs. Homler was working on. Mrs. Homler replied that an 18 month old child was hospitalized for chelation therapy after a venous blood draw revealed a lead count of 43. The Department is required to intervene at a level of 15.

The child’s family is from Pakistan and they have been living in Mahwah since August 2005. The source of the poisoning appears to be a cultural cosmetic known as Surma, which has been applied regularly to both the mother’s and the child’s eyes. Lab tests determined that the Surma had a 27% lead content which was being directly absorbed through the mucous membrane. The child was scheduled to be released from the hospital today.

Mrs. DeSilva asked if there would be permanent damage from the lead. Mrs. Homler feels that the problem was diagnosed and corrective measures were taken early enough to preclude brain damage. Mrs. Homler had observed behaviors normal for the child’s age and development during her visits to the home. Mrs. Wendolowski (HARP) had accompanied her on two of these visits, and Mrs. Homler was grateful for her nursing experience during this intervention.

Mr. LaMontagne inquired what symptoms would alert the doctor to lead poisoning. Mr. Hopper replied that the law requires pediatricians to test for blood lead in infants and children.




Mr. Hopper noted that although we never received our third quarter report from BCHC, that at least now we are able to complete our mandated reporting for 2005.

There being no further business or discussion, a motion to adjourn at 8:36pm was made by Mr. LaMontagne, seconded by Mr. Wasson and, approved by all present.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 2, 2006.

Respectfully submitted,

Marianne Campbell

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