Air Today . . . Gone Tomorrow Article|
Asbestos, Lead, PCB
Exposure Potential Risk Of Environmental Aftermath From WTC Collapse
Environmental Health Perspectives
Press Release, Internet Wire, December 4, 2001
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK,
NC -- A scientific news article released today in the journal Environmental Health
Perspectives suggests that the collapse of the World Trade Centers may have serious long
term environmental health effects on those in harms way, including children, office
workers, rescuers and residents. The article, "Environmental Aftermath," reviews
the potential environmental health impact of over a million tons of steel, dust and debris
falling to the earth on the Island of Manhattan.
The analysis cites asbestos, lead and PCBs (or polychlorinated
biphenyls) present in the dust created by the Twin Towers collapse as among the most
potentially serious lingering exposures to the community, including rescue workers, office
workers and the more than 20,000 residents, including 3,000 children, who live within half
a mile of Ground Zero.
Over 5,000 tons of asbestos had been sprayed onto the first forty
floors of one of the towers before it was banned in new construction in New York in 1970.
Asbestos fibers have been found in air readings taken since the tragedy, although exact
levels are in dispute. It was also common practice in building construction at the time to
use lead-containing paint to rust-proof steel beams. Moderately high levels of lead have
been found in air readings following the disaster. Exposure to lead can cause detrimental
neurological effects in children.
PCBs have also been detected at the World Trade Center site. Although
PCB manufacture was stopped in the United States in 1977, the toxic chemicals may be
present in some older electrical equipment at the Twin Towers at the time of the attack.
PCBs were used prior to 1977 as lubricants and coolants in electrical equipment. All
samples of air taken so far have had PCB levels below EPA screening levels. However, it
appears that the release of some contaminants including PCBs "may be episodic,
occurring when work at the site disrupts pockets of materials buried in the rubble,"
according to the report.
Environmental Health Perspectives is the journal of the National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, one of the 27 institutes that make up the
National Institutes of Health. OCR Services, Inc., handles marketing and public relations
for the publication, and is solely responsible for creation and distribution of this press
release. More info is available on the web at http://www.ehpjournal.com/.
A full copy of the report is available by fax or e-mail (PDF format) to working media at
no charge. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
FAIR USE NOTICE
This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been
specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my
efforts to advance understanding of democracy, economic, environmental, human rights,
political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. I believe this constitutes
a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US
Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,
the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational
Take me back to learn more