Air Today . . . Gone Tomorrow Article

EPAs Foul Play: Agencys Plan to Test for WTC Dust Criticized as Ill-Defined
By Amy Zimmer, Metro New York, May 25, 2005

BOWLING GREEN Nearly four years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency still hasnt cleaned potentially toxic dust and other particles from apartments and offices in the path of the plume of smoke from that day.

The federal agency recently released a "draft final" sampling plan to determine building cleanup in Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, but many residents and workers criticized the plan at a public hearing yesterday. They fear the EPAs guidelines will make detecting and defining levels of "WTC dust" contamination too difficult.

The plan will only clean up dust that matches a specific mix of toxins in certain proportions or "contaminants of potential concern" in plainspeak and will take the average results from testing on alternate floors of a building to determine whether its contaminated and warrants cleaning. Thats "bad logic," according to Suzanne Mattei, the Sierra Club's New York City executive.

"It will not be able to prove that all World Trade Center dust contains those substances or in that proportion because no one did the comprehensive testing that should have been done after the disaster," she said. "It would be unfair and unconscionable as a public health measure to insist that all toxic dust is the residents or workers problem unless EPA proves beyond a shadow of a doubt it came from the towers."

But E. Timothy Oppelt, director of the EPAs National Homeland Security Research Center, said the EPA has expanded its initial dust cleanup program from 2002 to include residences and offices in a wider area. "I feel comfortable that weve made great progress for a credible program," he said.

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 purposes.

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