California Law Protects Residents from Fentanyl Exposure

Thursday, October 10, 2019
Bill to set cleanup standards for fentanyl is signed into law.
 
SACRAMENTO – Earlier this year, Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) introduced a bill to add fentanyl to the Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Act of 2005 in order to set interim cleanup standards for fentanyl-contaminated property and to provide direction to local health officers for the oversight and cleanup of fentanyl-contaminated properties. The measure has been signed into law.
 
“It's important that we have statewide cleanup standards for properties contaminated by fentanyl to ensure that when people re-enter the property they are not exposed to this harmful, and lethal drug,” explained Assemblymember Quirk.  AB 1596 graphic
 
The new law protects occupants of properties contaminated by fentanyl by establishing interim cleanup standards for the cleanup of fentanyl labs until standards can be developed by the state or federal government.  Additionally, direction will be provided to local health officers on how to provide adequate notice to property owners and renters of property contaminated by fentanyl as well as guidance on the oversight of the cleanup of these properties. 
 
Fentanyl is currently listed as a Schedule II prescription drug that mimics the effects of morphine in the human body, but it is 50–100 times more potent than morphine and deadlier than heroin.
                         
The measure, Assembly Bill 1596 is modeled after the Methamphetamine Contaminated Property Cleanup Act of 2005 and updates the statutes to ensure that properties contaminated with fentanyl are safely decontaminated before being rented or sold.  Without establishing procedures and standards for the cleanup of fentanyl-contaminated properties, innocent people are a risk of being harmed from the residue that is left behind by these chemicals when the properties are rented or sold without being adequately decontaminated.
 
“Since fentanyl can be ingested orally, inhaled through the nose or mouth, or absorbed through the skin or eyes, any substance suspected to contain fentanyl should be treated with extreme caution as exposure to a small amount can lead to significant health‐related complications, respiratory depression, or death. This bill is a good example of the state and local agencies working together to ensure that residents in California are safe,” stated Assemblymember Quirk.
 
AB 1596 will go into effect on January 1, 2020.
 
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Elected in 2012, Bill Quirk brings his PhD in astrophysics and career as an educator and scientist to the State Assembly.  He is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. He is also Chair of the Select Committee on California’s Clean Energy Economy. He is a member of the Appropriations, Public Safety, Revenue and Taxation, and Utilities and Energy Committees.