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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 17 fixed 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 34 samples taken in and around ground zero from October 8 to October 9. 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 676, with 27 samples above the standard.
Staten Island Landfill
Air (Asbestos) - The number of monitoring locations at the landfill has been increased to 16. Sixteen air samples were taken on Oct. 8; fourteen of the results were below the AHERA school re-entry standard. Two samples, one in the area where debris is sifted and the other in the wash area, were above the AHERA standard. During the sampling period, a worker used a dry broom to sweep an area of the wash station instead of the required wet mop. Corrective measures have been implemented. An additional 16 samples were collected between Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, all were below the AHERA standard.
Ambient Air Sampling:
PCBs - Ten samples were taken on Sept. 27, within the vicinity of the emergency response operations. Eight samples showed no detection of PCBs; the remaining two samples detected PCBs at levels less than the removal action guideline, adjusted for a one-year exposure.
Three samples of dust collected from rooftops in the vicinity of the World Trade Center were analyzed for asbestos. All results either showed no detection of asbestos or asbestos present at concentrations of less than 1%.
New Jersey metal recycling facilities
On October 9, 25 samples were collected from structural steel from the World Trade Center site brought to metal recycling facilities in New Jersey. Two samples were found to have asbestos at levels greater than 1%. The facilities have been instructed to follow the proper procedures for asbestos handling.
U.S. Government Website