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Finding may delay ground
January 26, 2005
NEW YORK -- High levels of asbestos, lead and other contaminants have been found in a
vacant skyscraper badly damaged during the 2001 terror attacks, potentially complicating
the rebuilding of ground zero.
A consultant to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. revealed the findings at a public
hearing where neighbors, environmental advocates and union representatives talked about
their concerns over plans to dismantle the 40-story Deutsche Bank building.
The consultant said concentrations of asbestos, lead and silica on the building's exterior
and in elevator shafts, conduits and ductwork exceeded benchmarks set by the Environmental
Protection Agency, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Critics of the plan fear the demolition will kick contaminants into the air and that
workers inside the building would not be adequately protected.
"Workers are essentially, and unfortunately, the canaries for the community,"
said David M. Newman of the nonprofit New York Committee for Occupational Safety and
Government permits are needed before the plan can proceed.
EPA officials say they are not opposed to the dismantling, but support steps to reduce the
The building is across the street from the trade center site. Falling debris from the
attack tore a gash in its facade, allowing in water that contributed to a severe
infestation of mold inside. Officials eventually decided it was easier to tear it down
piece by piece and rebuild than to repair it.
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