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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 42 samples taken in and around ground zero from November 29 through December 2. In addition, EPA sampled for asbestos at three additional lower Manhattan locations on November 30 for a total of 86 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 2,967, with 29 samples above the standard (27 of these above-standard readings were collected prior to September 30 and one was collected on October 9 and the other on November 27).
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), P.S. 44 (80 Maple Parkway, Staten Island) and P.S. 199 (3290 48th St., Queens). Asbestos samples collected on November 30 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 29. All samples showed results less than school re-entry standard. This brings the total number of samples collected and analyzed in New Jersey to 207, with zero above the standard.
Staten Island Landfill:
Air (Asbestos) - Thirty-eight samples were collected on December 1 and 2. All of these samples were below the school re-entry standard.
Air (Particulates) - EPA used portable monitors to collect samples of particulates on December 3 at the Staten Island Landfill. No significant readings reported.
PCBs - Ten samples were collected on November 8 and analyzed for PCBs. PCBs were not detected in any of the samples.
Metals -A total of 20 samples were collected on November 19 and 21. Analysis for all metals were either non-detect or below applicable standards, guidelines and permissible levels established by EPA and OSHA. Final analysis of these samples for chromium showed that chromium is not present.
PAHs - A total of 30 samples were collected on November 8, 12 and 15 and analyzed for PAHs. PAHs were not detected in any of these samples.
Dioxin - EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) has been conducting some specialized monitoring at and around the World Trade Center site since late September. Some of the results of the monitoring, which have been subjected to an extensive quality assurance/quality control process have now been finalized and are available. Air samples were collected over 24-hour and 72-hour periods and analyzed for dioxins. Here are the results:
October 1 - 4: One 72-hr. sample taken at 290 Broadway showed results above EPA's action level based on a 30-year exposure. Levels did not exceed EPA's action level for a 1-year exposure.
October 11-15: Eight 24-hr. samples were taken at Park Row and Borough of Manhattan Community College: two - both at Park Row - were above EPA's action level based on a 30-year exposure. Levels did not exceed EPA's action level for a 1-year exposure.
October 23 - 29: Four 72-hr. samples were taken at Park Row and Borough of Manhattan Community College: two - both at Park Row - were above EPA's action level based on a 30-year exposure. Levels did not exceed EPA's action level for a 1-year exposure.
October 29-November 5: Four 72-hr. samples were taken at Park Row and Borough of Manhattan Community College: there were no exceedances of EPA's action level for a 30-year exposure.
November 5 - 16: Eight 72-hr. samples were taken at Park Row and Borough of Manhattan Community College: there were no exceedances of EPA's action level for a 30-year exposure.
None of the levels found in these samples pose a short-term health concern. However, those samples that exceeded EPA's action level were elevated sufficiently to be of concern for a long-term exposure.
U.S. Government Website