Air Today . . . Gone Tomorrow Article

WTC Panel Formed to Review Health Protection; Expert Panel to Begin Assessments in March
By U.S. Newswire, March 1, 2004

To: National Desk

Contact: Suzanne Ackerman of the Environmental Protection Agency, 202-564-7819 or, or Mary Mears of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 2, 212-637-3673 or

WASHINGTON, March 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Deputy Administrator Steve Johnson, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York) and EPA officials announced the formation of an expert technical review panel to obtain greater input on ongoing efforts to monitor health effects for workers and residents impacted by the collapse of the World Trade Center. This panel is convened and led by the EPA.

Acting Deputy Administrator Steve Johnson said, "EPA continues to work to assure that the health and well-being of residents, workers and emergency responders in the New York metropolitan area are protected, following the collapse of the World Trade Center towers."

The expert panel will help guide EPA's use of available exposure and health surveillance databases and registries. It will characterize any remaining exposures and risks, identify unmet public health needs, and recommend any steps to further minimize the risks associated with the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks.

Johnson continued, "Senator Clinton continues to have an active interest in our work. Forming this panel and determining its scope of work has been a joint, collaborative effort between EPA and Senator Clinton. I appreciate her support of this effort and her leadership. I also want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and New York City officials for their continued support and collaboration."

The panel will be chaired by Dr. Paul Gilman, EPA Science Advisor and Assistant Administrator for Research and Development. The panel includes broad representation from other federal health and environmental agencies, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and outside academic and medical experts. Gilman said, "The panel of experts will work openly and transparently. Our objective is to assure that the health of those impacted is protected."

Over the next six months, the panel will review post- cleaning verification sampling in the residential areas included in EPA's indoor air cleanup to verify re-contamination has not occurred from central heating and air conditioning systems. Also in that period of time, the panel will review the "World Trade Center Residential Confirmation Cleaning Study," which concluded that the cleaning methods used in EPA's indoor cleanup program and recommended to residents who cleaned their own places were extremely effective and indicated that asbestos was an appropriate surrogate for which to test.

Within 24 months, the panel will identify areas where the health registry could be enhanced to allow better tracking of post-exposure risks by workers and residents. The panel will review and synthesize the ongoing work by federal, state and local governments and private entities to determine the characteristics of the WTC plume and where it was dispersed, including the geographic extent of EPA and other entities' monitoring and testing, and recommend any additional evaluations for consideration by EPA and other public agencies.

For additional information, such as panel members' biographical information, overview of the scope of work and the panel's operating principles, visit:

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