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Final technical report of the public health investigation to assess potential exposures to airborne and settled surface dust in residential areas of lower Manhattan
  • Published Date:
    September 2002
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-3.76 MB]

  • Description:
    From November 4 through December 11, 2001, environmental samples were collected in and around 30 residential buildings in lower Manhattan. In addition, four buildings above 59th Street were sampled and used as a comparison area for this investigation. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) and the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conducted this limited investigation with support and collaboration from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Readiness Force and the World Trade Center Environmental Assessment Working Group. The purpose of the sampling was to assess the composition of both outdoor and indoor settled surface and airborne dust within residential areas around the World Trade Center. This information was used to help determine whether additional public health actions are needed to address any remaining World Trade Center-related dust inside residential areas. The information collected could also be used to compare the findings from the locations that were known or were likely to have received dust directly from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, to findings from areas that were unlikely to have received dust directly from the disaster (comparison areas).

    Attention was given to those materials reasonably expected to be in the original dust cloud and in dust generated by ongoing activities at the World Trade Center. The focus was on building materials that have been shown to have irritant properties (e.g., synthetic vitreous fibers [SVF] and gypsum) and be associated with long-term health concerns (i.e., crystalline silica and asbestos). The samples collected during this investigation were analyzed for the following materials: asbestos, SVF, mineral components of concrete (crystalline silica, calcite, and portlandite), and mineral components of building wallboard (gypsum, mica, and halite). Efforts were made to get as much information as possible with the sampling that could be conducted, given accessibility and equipment limitations.

    Results from this investigation do not necessarily reflect conditions that would be found in other buildings, at other times just following the collapse, or after the sampling period. The measurements reflect conditions present at the time of the sampling (November 4– December 12, 2001) in the buildings and areas sampled. The limited number of results obtained from the comparison areas above 59th Street was an attempt to determine the New York City–specific background levels of asbestos, SVF, mi neral components of concrete (quartz, calcite, and portlandite), and mineral components of building wallboard (gypsum, mica, and halite).

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