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OSHA, EPA Announce Results of Asbestos Tests

OSHA and EPA yesterday announced that the majority of air and dust\r\nsamples monitored in New York's financial district do not indicate asbestos.

OSHA and EPA yesterday announced that the majority of air and dust samples monitored in New York''s financial district do not indicate asbestos.

The new samples confirm previous reports that ambient air quality meets OSHA standards and consequently is not a case for public concern. New OSHA data also indicates that indoor air quality in downtown buildings will meet standards.

EPA has found variable asbestos levels in bulk debris and dust on the ground, but EPA continues to believe that there is no significant health risk to the general public in the coming days. Steps are being taken to clean up this dust and debris.

"Our tests show that it is safe for New Yorkers to go back to work in New York''s financial district," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "Keeping the streets clean and being careful not to track dust into buildings will help protect workers from remaining debris."

OSHA staff walked through New York''s financial district on Sept. 13 wearing personal air monitors and collected data on potential asbestos exposure levels. All but two samples contained no asbestos. Two samples contained very low levels of unknown fiber, which is still being analyzed.

Air samples taken on Sept. 13 inside buildings in New York''s financial district were negative for asbestos. Debris samples collected outside buildings on cars and other surfaces contained small percentages of asbestos, ranging from 2.1 to 3.3 -- slightly above the 1 percent trigger for defining asbestos material.

"EPA deployed 16 vacuum trucks this weekend in an effort to remove as much of the dust and debris as possible from the site where the samples were obtained," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "In addition, we will be moving six continuous air monitoring stations into the area. We will put five near ground zero and one on Canal Street. The good news continues to be that the air samples have all been at levels that cause us no concern."

by Virginia Foran

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