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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:
Asbestos - EPA analyzed 50 samples taken in and around ground zero from October 4 through October 5. 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 (Link to map). One sample was not analyzed due to overloading of particulates. This brings the total number of air samples collected and analyzed for lower Manhattan to 576, with 27 samples above the standard.
Staten Island Landfill
Air (Asbestos) - Twenty-three air samples were taken from October 5 through October 6. All test results were below the AHERA standard used for allowing re-entry into schools.
Particulates - The results from October 5 showed that the average concentrations of particulate matter decreased from the previous day.
Ambient Air Sampling:
PM2.5 - Monitoring for fine particulate matter (particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) was conducted on October 5 from stations located at Pace University, Borough of Manhattan Community College and the U.S. Coast Guard Building located at Battery Park. All of the 24-hour averages were below the stringent National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 65 ug/m3.
VOCs - Sampling for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was conducted on October 6. Benzene was detected above the OSHA limit at one location in the plume of the debris pile, but not at a location outside the perimeter of ground zero.
U.S. Government Website