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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 more than 20 fixed air monitors in and around ground zero and additional monitors in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The Agency is also using portable sampling equipment to collect data from a range of locations.
Air: Fixed Monitors in New York:
Asbestos - EPA analyzed 39 samples taken in and around ground zero from November 7 through November 8. In addition, EPA sampled for asbestos at three recently added lower Manhattan locations from October 30 to November 3, for a total of 48 samples in this period. All samples showed results less than 70 structures per square millimeter, 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 1,929, with 28 samples above the standard (27 were collected prior to September 30 and one was collected on October 9).
Air: Fixed Monitors outside Manhattan:
Asbestos - Additional asbestos monitors have been placed at Public School 154 (33 East 135th St., Bronx), Intermediate School 143 (511 W. 182nd St., Manhattan), P.S. 274 (800 Bushwick Ave, Brooklyn), P.S. 44 (80 Maple Parkway, Staten Island) and P.S. 199 (3290 48th St., Queens). Asbestos samples collected on October 30, November 2 and 3rd from these locations showed no exceedances of the AHERA re-entry standard.
Staten Island Landfill:
Air (Asbestos) - Nineteen samples were collected from November 7 through November 8. All were below the school re-entry standard.
VOCs - Sampling for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was conducted on November 8 in the direct area of the debris pile at ground zero. To protect workers at the work site, EPA takes grab samples of VOCs where smoke plumes have been sighted. The results are snapshots of the levels at a moment in time. OSHA's protective standards set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) averaged over an 8-hour day. Benzene in samples from the North Tower and South Tower debris piles in the plume exceeded the OSHA PEL of 1 part per million (ppm). Elevated levels of toluene, ethyl benzene and styrene were found in the sample from the North Tower debris pile, but all levels were below the respective OSHA PELs.
Particulate Monitoring - EPA used portable monitors to collect samples on November 8 in the following locations: L (north east side of Stuyvesant High School); N (south side of Pier 25); and R (north west side of Stuyvesant High School). All readings were below the OSHA time-weighted permissible exposure limit for particulates.
Direct Air Readings - Direct readings taken on November 8 in and around ground zero showed no levels of significance.
U.S. Government Website