"Uncertainty surrounds asbestos"
By Traci Watson, USA TODAY, Feb. 6, 2002
When the World Trade Center
collapsed, thousands of tons of asbestos spewed into the air of Lower
Manhattan. On this point, nearly everyone agrees.
Beyond that, nothing is simple. In
recent months, the asbestos has aroused more fear and blame than any
other pollutant in the controversy over air quality near Ground Zero.
The stakes are high. Asbestos does
not cause the respiratory and eye problems that many New Yorkers are
experiencing, but the microscopic fibers do cause lung cancer.
"I've heard there were nearly
5,000 tons of asbestos released in Manhattan, but (officials say)
everything's okay," says Steve Swaney, head of a tenants' group at a
downtown apartment building. "I think they should give people the
The truth will be very hard to
discern. Few environmental toxins boast the complications of asbestos.
"The only thing everyone agrees about is how to spell the word," says
Rashad Shaikh, the former head of a research institute devoted to
For starters, there's the
hit-and-miss monitoring. Officials at the Environmental Protection
Agency say city officials took responsibility for whether buildings
should be reoccupied. So the EPA restricted its testing to air and dust
The city has yet to release indoor
test results, which could be available as soon as today.
Despite the lack of monitoring,
EPA officials started reassuring the public soon after Sept. 11 that
asbestos posed no problem. "EPA is greatly relieved to have learned that
there appears to be no significant levels of asbestos dust in the air in
New York City," EPA chief Christie Whitman said Sept. 13.
Whitman and other EPA officials
neglected to say that the agency tested only outdoors, where air
pollution and toxic dust are quickly diluted to harmless levels.
Dozens of private firms have run
tests, but the results can be controversial. There are many methods of
asbestos testing, and even experts disagree over which should be used.
However, it is clear that the
interiors of at least a few buildings are coated with enough asbestos to
be subject to EPA rules for asbestos cleanup. Those rules apply to dust
or debris containing more than 1% asbestos. If kicked up by activity,
that dust could easily be inhaled.
A private scientific firm hired by
elected officials found up to 79,000 of the most dangerous types of
asbestos fibers per square centimeter in the dust in an apartment near
Ground Zero. "These dust numbers are extraordinary," says Richard Lee,
president of RJLee Group, a materials lab and consulting firm. "I think
you'd have to recommend, based on (these) numbers, that these be
A second firm hired by a
construction company found high levels of asbestos in the air in several
large office buildings near the Trade Center site.
Such buildings should be cleaned
by specialists, Lee said. Ill-equipped cleaners could be exposed to high
levels of asbestos. And even one-time doses of asbestos, if large
enough, can raise the risk of mesothelioma, a rare cancer.
Now the EPA has been
sued for its mistake!!!
Lower Manhattan Residents Sue EPA
Over 9/11 Air Quality
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES, March 10, 2004
NEW YORK (AP)--Residents and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn
sued the Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday, saying the agency
improperly let thousands of people return to their homes and businesses
after the World Trade Center collapsed.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan accused the EPA
of repeatedly making misleading and unduly reassuring statements about air
quality after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. It sought class-action
It said the agency failed to follow its own procedures, letting people
flood back into lower Manhattan before adequate precautions were taken to
protect them from asbestos and other toxins released in the disaster.
The lawsuit said the EPA's actions "left many thousands of individuals,
adults and children alike, unnecessarily exposed to potentially hazardous
levels of asbestos and possibly other carcinogens and toxic substances."
It accused the agency and its leaders, including former EPA
Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, of "a shockingly deliberate
indifference to human health."
Phillip Fry and Divine Montero to find
workplace mold, and mold hidden inside the walls, ceilings, floors, crawl
space, attic, and basement of your house, condominium, office, or
other building anywhere in USA, Canada, Asia, Europe, and worldwide.