Nadler Calls New EPA Testing at Ground Zero a "Step in the Right Direction"

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), commenting on EPA's decision to expand testing around Ground Zero, called such testing a "step in the right direction," but added, "the devil is in the details."

"I am extremely gratified that an EPA-led expert panel has proposed to expand testing for hazardous substances beyond the arbitrary boundary of Canal Street, and to include testing of commercial buildings and schools," said Nadler. However, he added, while this decision is a positive sign, additional measures must also be taken to properly protect the people of New York, such as:

  • The test methodology used in this new round of tests must be the more sensitive, accurate test methods used by EPA at other hazardous sites around the country, such as at Libby, Mont.
  • EPA must test for all contaminants known to be present at the WTC, such as lead, mercury, asbestos, dioxins and PCBs.
  • The agency must test the dust as well as the air, so that all pathways of exposure are considered. All of this testing must be done in accordance with federal health and safety laws, and in a public and transparent manner so that the public can properly assess the results.

"EPA officials have indicated they will characterize entire buildings, and not just a single unit. This characterization must include the ventilation and duct work, which can be a source of recontamination. They have also signaled a willingness to conduct tests in Brooklyn. It is imperative that testing in Brooklyn become a reality. EPA must budget the necessary funds to perform these activities thoroughly and expeditiously," said Nadler.

He added he was pleased that EPA indicated it will investigate the environmental and health risks at the Deutsche Bank building. "I hope that no action is taken to demolish the building until the EPA completes its work at the building, and develops a contingency plan to manage the potential release of hazardous materials, consistent with the agency's mandate under federal law," said Nadler.

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