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New Yorkers are sleeping with the enemy.

New York has been invaded by hungry, skin-piercing, bloodsucking pests called bed bugs, and this is an epidemic of historic proportions.

In February 2009, the City Council held an open hearing to discuss some possible solutions, and in March 2009, they enacted legislation creating a Bed Bug Advisory Board.

In a bill filed December 31, 2009, it appears the Council is moving toward requiring better sanitation of reconditioned mattresses, rather than banning their sale outfight. In order to stop the proliferation of bed bugs in New York, we must ban the sale of reconditioned mattresses in their entirety.

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In the early 1900's bed bugs were commonplace--they were everywhere in New York and once the population got out of control, it was impossible to rein it in. They almost disappeared in the mid-century, as washing machines, vacuums, increased attention to cleanliness and more sophisticated extermination methods made them practically obsolete. That is until recently.

For example, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development cites that there were very few complaints filed in fiscal year 2003, but by the end of 2006, the department received over 4,638 complaints (a conservative number since many infestations go unreported). Additionally, calls to 311 about bed bugs doubled between 2006 and 2008 to more than 22,000, according to city records.

When the City Council Committees on Health, Sanitation and Solid Waste Management and Consumer Affairs held an open forum in February 2009, they discussed three different options: a ban on the sale of reconditioned mattresses, the creation of a DOHMH training program on proper bed bug elimination techniques, and requirements to label mattresses prior to disposal.

On December 31, 2009, however, the City Council filed legislation to "promulgate standards and rules concerning the sanitization of mattresses that include requirements sufficient to eradicate bed bugs in reconditioned mattresses before their sale."

This legislation does not go far enough we must immediately ban the sale of reconditioned mattresses to prevent the proliferation of bed bugs.

In April 2008, Dateline NBC conducted an investigation into the process through which reconditioned mattresses are sanitized and found that bed bugs are not completely eradicated even after the mattresses are disinfected.

Furthermore, they found new mattresses stacked against old and rebuilt mattresses, which is concerning as bed bugs can move from one to another.

Creating committees, increasing training, and requiring specific types of disposal are all useful steps; but we need to ban the sale of reconditioned mattresses if we want to truly address the bed bug problem in New York.

BY BEN WEISEL

PRESIDENT, METRO PEST CONTROL, INC.
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Comment:New Yorkers are sleeping with the enemy.
Author:Weisel, Ben
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:May 26, 2010
Words:431
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