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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 41 samples taken in and around ground zero on November 20 and 21. In addition, EPA sampled for asbestos at three additional lower Manhattan locations on November 19 for a total of 44 samples. 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 2,499, with 28 samples above the standard (27 were collected prior to September 30 and one was collected on October 9).
Air: Fixed Monitors outside lower 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), PS 44 (80 Maple Parkway, Staten Island) and PS 199 (3290 48th St., Queens). Asbestos samples collected on November 19 from these locations showed no exceedances of the AHERA re-entry standard.
Air: Fixed Monitors in New Jersey:
Asbestos - Four air samples were taken in New Jersey on November 19. All samples showed results less than school reentry standard. This brings the total number of samples collected and analyzed in New Jersey to 199, with zero above the standard.
Staten Island Landfill:
Air (Asbestos) - Seventy-two samples were collected from November 20 to November 23. All but two of these samples were below the school reentry standard. Two samples collected on November 20 at Wash Station Locations W-11 and W-12A were above the standard.
Air (Particulates) - EPA used portable monitors to collect samples of particulates on November 21 and 24 at the Staten Island Landfill. There were significant decreases in the readings.
Particulate Monitoring - EPA used portable monitors to collect samples from November 20 through November 25 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). (Note: no data collected on Nov. 24 due to rain.) Particulate levels at all locations were below the OSHA time-weighted permissible exposure limit.
VOCs - Sampling for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was conducted on November 20 and 25 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 one sample from the North Tower (taken on Nov. 20) debris piles in the plume exceeded the OSHA PEL of 1 part per million (ppm). Two of three other samples analyzed from the same day taken at West and Murray and Austin Tobin Plaza were non-detect for benzene. No samples collected on Nov. 25 exceeded the OSHA standard for benzene.
Direct Air Readings - Direct readings taken on November 20 through November 25 in and around ground zero generally showed no levels of significance with the exception of the following four readings: one reading from Nov. 22 was above the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for carbon monoxide (8 hr. average) of 9 PPM and three readings from Nov. 23 were above the same carbon monoxide standard. (Note: no data was collected on Nov. 24 due to rain.)
U.S. Government Website