FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2010
DEPUTY MAYOR GIBBS AND SPEAKER QUINN ANNOUNCE COUNCIL FUNDING FOR WEB BASED BED BUG PORTAL AND OTHER INITIATIVES RECOMMENDED BY EXPERT COMMISSION
New Online Portal and Additional Staff Will Help New Yorkers Mitigate Bed Bugs
Deputy Mayor Linda I. Gibbs joined City Council Speaker Christine Quinn today to announce $500,000 in City Council funding to create a new bed bug web portal and a dedicated staff to help New York residents and businesses mitigate bed bug infestations. The new resources were allocated based on the recommendations of the New York City Bed Bug Advisory Board which found that the lack of educational materials and the dissemination of inconsistent information were impeding the ability of landlords, business owners, and residents to prevent and manage bed bugs. The Deputy Mayor and Speaker were joined at the City Hall announcement by City Council Member Gale Brewer; Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Health, Dan Kass; and Chair of the New York City Bed Bug Advisory Board, Dr. Jody L. Gangloff-Kaufmann.
"While bed bugs may not carry disease, they are a serious issue for any family that has them. Bed bugs can affect your physical and mental wellbeing, and significantly hamper your quality-of-life," said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. "By taking this step, we will make sure all New Yorkers have the information they need to protect themselves and their families."
"When New Yorkers came to the Council and told us how big of a problem bed bugs were, we knew that we had to do something," said New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "We passed a law to create the Bed Bug Advisory Board, which spent several months looking into the issue and developed numerous recommendations for addressing all aspects of bed bug infestations. I'm thrilled to announce that the Council has committed $500,000 to ensure that many of its recommendations will be implemented by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. I'm confident that this initiative will provide New Yorkers with the information and resources they need to prevent and treat bed bug infestations in their homes, places of business or other locations. I want to thank the Bed Bug Advisory Board for its comprehensive report and specifically express my gratitude to Council Member Gale Brewer, whose work on this issue has been invaluable to the Council and all New Yorkers affected by bed bugs."
"The first step in safeguarding the public health is to know the extent of the problem you face. Today marks the beginning of the City's commitment to understand bed bug infestations, to identify where and when they are occurring, and to coordinate an effective response," said Council Member Gale Brewer. "Our goal is a simple one: to get the bed bug epidemic under control, and provide effective help when they strike. For the City employees whose workplaces are infested, shoppers who fear buying infected merchandise, parents whose children bring bedbugs home from school, apartment dwellers who live in infested buildings, and all other New Yorkers - the City is committed to help you."
The Bed Bug Advisory Board was convened in 2009 to identify workable solutions to prevent and treat bed bug infestations throughout New York City. The Board was comprised of industry experts, entomologists, advocates and representatives from numerous City agencies who evaluated a number of issues pertaining to bed bugs including: improving public education, awareness and early detection of infestations; effective treatment and remediation techniques; and the importance of monitoring new developments and crafting responsive policies. Based on the Board's recommendations, the City will develop a web-based bed bug portal for public education and awareness; work to coordinate and improve bed bug abatement enforcement practices in housing and ensure up to date and effective training of pest management professionals.
"After decades of relative quiet, bed bugs are on the rise in cities throughout the world," said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. "Controlling bed bugs may be difficult, but it's not impossible. This report shows that more can be done to address this issue. The Health Department is committed to giving people the information they need to secure their own homes and businesses. As City agencies develop new guidance for residents, tenants and property owners, we encourage the public to learn more about bed bugs by consulting New York City's Guide to Preventing and Getting Rid of Bed Bugs. You can obtain a copy by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/health."
"Bed bugs are a pest like no other in their resilience and the financial, emotional and legal impacts they have upon people," said Dr. Jody L. Gangloff-Kaufmann. "They make us think differently about pest control. The good news is they can be controlled and increased awareness and cooperation are the keys to success. With the formation of the Bed Bug Advisory Board, the City of New York has taken a strong initiative to address bed bugs.
The Bed Bug Portal will serve as a cost-effective outreach tool for any New Yorker affected by bed bugs. It will provide step-by-step instructions on how to prevent, confirm and manage an infestation, and offer information and training videos for landlords and pest management professionals. The Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene and Housing Preservation will also create joint enforcement teams to work with property owners to conduct affirmative inspections of neighboring apartments in multi-unit dwellings to help prevent and to stop the spread of bed bugs once they have been found. City agencies will also provide more extensive training for their inspectional, pest control and social service workforces to help keep up with the developing science of bed bug control, and to help tenants understand what they can do to prevent and respond to infestations.
New Yorkers interested in learning more about how to prevent bed bugs should visit www.nyc.gov or call 311.
Jamie McShane (Council)
Susan Craig (Health)
Read the report