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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal, state and local agencies have collected extensive environmental monitoring data from the World Trade Center site and nearby areas in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey. Since September 11, EPA has taken samples of the air, dust, water, river sediments and drinking water and analyzed them for the presence of pollutants that might pose a health risk to response workers at the World Trade Center site and the public. The samples are evaluated against a variety of benchmarks, standards and guidelines established to protect public health under various conditions. EPA is collecting data from 19 fixed air monitors in and around ground zero and is using portable sampling equipment to collect data from a range of locations.
Air: Fixed Monitors in New York and New Jersey:
Asbestos - EPA analyzed 19 samples taken in and around ground on October 16. All samples showed results less than 70 structures per millimeter squared, which is the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) standard for allowing children to re-enter school buildings after asbestos removal activities. This brings the total number of air samples collected and analyzed for lower Manhattan to 952, with 27 samples above the standard.
Four air samples taken in New Jersey on October 15 showed results less than the school re-entry standard. This brings the total number of samples collected and analyzed in New Jersey to 118, with zero above the standard.
Staten Island Landfill:
Air (Asbestos) - 49 samples were collected from October 14 through October 16. One exceedance of the AHERA standard used for allowing re-entry into schools was observed at location #12 (the indoor wash station). This occurrence is being investigated further. The remaining samples showed results less than the AHERA standard.
Particulate Monitoring - Samples collected on October 18 using portable monitors showed no significant readings.
Metals - One sample obtained form the lobby of 110 Greenwich did not detect any metals above levels of concern based on EPA's guidelines for taking action to reduce exposure.
Asbestos - Three samples were collected on October 2 from the sand/dirt pile that was previously located on the parking lot on West and Vesey Streets and analyzed for asbestos. EPA is currently preparing this site for use as a large personal hygiene complex for World Trade Center workers. All results were either non-detects or less than 1% asbestos.
Staten Island Landfill Asbestos - Asbestos was not detected in the 12 samples collected on October 14 from various steel and debris piles at the Staten Island Landfill.
PCBs - The results of seven samples collected inside of Public School 234 on September 29 showed no detectable levels of PCBs.
Ambient Air Sampling:
Metals - The results of 20 samples collected on October 8 and October 11 showed either no detectable levels of metals, or were below applicable EPA action levels, OSHA permissible exposure levels and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead.
PCBs - Trace amounts of PCBs were detected in four of the 10 samples collected on October 8, but all were well below levels of concern. Six samples showed no detectable levels of any PCBs. All levels were below EPA action levels.
Silicates - Twenty samples collected on October 2 showed no detectable levels of silicates.
PM 2.5 - Monitoring for fine particulate matter (particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) was conducted on October 17 at Pace University, the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and the U.S. Coast Guard building located in Battery Park. All 24-hour average values were below the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (65 ug/m3) for all stations.
VOCs - Sampling for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was conducted on October 18 in the plume in the debris pile. Benzene exceeded the OSHA time weighted average of 1 parts per million (ppm) at one location in the pile at ground level. Overall VOC levels in the debris pile improved significantly from previous results.
Particulate Monitoring - Samples collected using portable monitors on October 18 at Locations L (North side of Stuyvesant High School near North Park), N (south side of Pier 25), and R (TAGA bus location) showed no significant readings.
Direct Readings - On October 18 there was an overall increase in carbon monoxide readings taken throughout the monitoring area in lower Manhattan. Several readings noted in early afternoon at Locations B (SE corner of Church & Dey), 2 (Greenwich & Liberty), C1 (SW corner of Broadway & Liberty), H (south side of Chase Plaza at Pine Street), D (East end of Albany at Greenwich) and K (West & Albany) were above the National Ambient Air Quality Standard 8-hour average of 9 ppm, but were below the NAAQS 1-hour standard of 33 ppm and the OSHA permissible exposure level of 50 ppm.
U.S. Government Website