(Albany, NY) The State Senate Democratic Majority has passed legislation sponsored by State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens), Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee, requiring retailers to sanitize every used mattress or bedding material transported, stored or sold in the state. The bill addresses the growing concerns regarding infestations of bedbugs by focusing on retail practices and the co-mingling of new and used bedding during transportation and storage.
Bedbugs have become more prevalent. According to the National Pest Management Association, bed bug complaints have increased 50 fold over the last five years, appearing in apartments, houses, hotels, dormitories and even office spaces in nearly every comer of the country. At one point this pest was virtually eliminated, however, it has made a comeback.
Peralta said “Bed bugs have become an insidious nuisance costing consumers, homeowners, landlords and government an enormous amount of money to combat the epidemic. This legislation will go a long way in ensuring that measures are put into place to contain the spread of bedbugs. People should be able to buy a mattress or furniture without the fear of bringing an uninvited guest into their homes.”
S7316B requires that all used bedding up for resale must be sanitized using a method approved by the department of health that is intended to kill bedbugs, dust mites, other insects, molds, fungi, germs or other hazards.
The bill will also eliminate the prior definition of a new mattress which was any bedding purchased and returned to the retailer within 30 days. Peralta’s bill will now define all mattresses that are purchased and returned as used and will require them to be properly cleaned and clearly identified as a used product.
Cross contamination between contaminated used and new furniture has contributed to the spread of bedbugs. Peralta’s legislation addresses the need for sanitizing second-hand bedding, and preventing used bedding that has not been sanitized from being transported, stored or sold with new bedding.
The bill would require full disclosure of the manner of sanitization and chemicals used for cleaning. It will also require annual inspections of bedding manufacturers.