World Trade Center Dust

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The Open Civil Engineering Journal 2008-04-19 - - Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction (link)

The Environmentalist 2008-08-04 - - Environmental anomalies at the World Trade Center: evidence for energetic materials (link)

The Open Chemical Physics Journal 2009-04-03 - - Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe (link)

USGS Dust Study

RJ Lee World Trade Center Dust Study

World Trade Center Dust Images

World Trade Center Dust Microspheres

World Trade Center Hot Spots

The Destruction Of Each World Trade Center Tower Generated A Hot Density Current

The Destruction Of World Trade Center 7 Generated A Hot Density Current

World Trade Center Dust Asbestos Content

World Trade Center Dust 1,3-diphenylpropane Content


Atmospheric Aerosols

World Trade Center Concrete

World Trade Center Debris Field Distribution

World Trade Center Debris Pile Mass and Volume

MJ 08 Dust Study

JK 08 Dust Study



Indoor dust contamination from WTC debris. Source: EPA/ORD - - photo courtesy of Dr. Lung Chi Chen - NYU

Airborne dust from the collapse of the towers blanketed Lower Manhattan and was blown or dispersed into many of the surrounding office buildings, schools, and residences. One person described the aftermath in Lower Manhattan as “looking like a blizzard” had hit. However, this blizzard did not deposit snow, but instead a complex mixture of building debris and combustion by-products. This mixture included, among other substances, asbestos, lead, glass fibers, and concrete dust. In addition to the initial dispersion of dust and debris, fires at the site created various emissions of potentially harmful pollutants. These fires were not officially declared extinguished until December 19, 2001, and debris continued to smolder and fires flared up for weeks after that. Emissions resulting from these fires included particulate matter, various metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and dioxin. (

The explosion and collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) was a catastrophic event that produced an aerosol plume impacting many workers, residents, and commuters during the first few days after 11 September 2001.

"No one has ever reported a situation like the one we see in the World Trade Center samples," said UC Davis researcher Thomas Cahill, an international authority on the constituents and transport of airborne particles. "The air from Ground Zero was laden with extremely high amounts of very small particles, probably associated with high temperatures in the underground debris pile. Normally, in New York City and in most of the world, situations like this just don’t exist."

"Even on the worst air days in Beijing, downwind from coal-fired power plants, or in the Kuwaiti oil fires, we did not see these levels of very fine particulates,"

Similar to the high concentrations of very fine particles, virtually all the air samples from the trade center site carried high concentrations of coarse particles – those about 12 micrometers to 5 micrometers in diameter. "These particles simply should not be there," Cahill said. "It had rained, sometimes heavily, on six days in the prior three weeks. That rain should have settled these coarse particles." The finding suggests that coarse particles were being continually generated from the hot debris pile.

The aerosols identified as having an origin in the WTC collapse piles are extraordinary in almost every regard, from the species mix to the concentrations in the very fine mode.

The WTC plume resembled in many ways those seen from municipal waste incinerators and high temperatures processes in coal-fired power plants.

"The USGS team also analyzed WTC dust using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction analysis. Like Lioy's group, USGS scientists discovered a complex mixture of materials: glass fibers (up to 40% in some samples), gypsum (wallboard), concrete, paper, and other construction debris. "I was just amazed at how many glass fibers there were," Meeker said. The high concentration of glass was due partially to windows, but primarily to ceiling tiles. SEM revealed that much of the glass was present as odd-shaped fibers and spheres. "It's not an effect of the collapse," Meeker said. These compositions are compatible with "slag wool," a common component of ceiling tiles and other building materials."

Thomas A. Cahill, who leads the DELTA (Detection & Evaluation of Long-Range Transport of Aerosols) group at UC Davis, is more concerned about the possible health risks of the plume from WTC. Cahill first started to wonder about the plume after the rainfall of Sept. 14. "The color of the plume was all wrong," he said. "It was a light blue. My background is atmospheric physics, and the color of the plume tells me a lot. A light blue plume means very fine particles. Clearly, the pile was still hot and was giving off very fine particles." Yet very fine particles, he said, are more characteristic of a very high temperature process, such as a coal-fired power plant, a smelter, or a diesel engine. The pile at ground zero wasn't hot enough to generate such fine particles. Cahill sent one of his instruments to a colleague in New York who started measuring ambient air on Oct. 2. As Cahill looked at the data, he began to think that perhaps the WTC debris pile was acting like an oxygen-poor municipal waste incinerator, "an enormous ground-level waste incinerator that burned for three months." If there is chlorine in an oxygen-poor municipal waste incinerator, the chlorine can combine with metals in the waste and create volatile compounds (for example, VCl4), which leave with the smoke. "Metals that would normally stay, mobilize and come out of the stack," Cahill said.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton helped get the initial financing approved by Congress for the center. In June, Congress approved 0 million for screenings and long-term health monitoring of thousands of ground zero workers, but President Bush rejected the plan, citing budget constraints. Mrs. Clinton's office is in discussions with the Federal Emergency Management Agency about more money for health screenings.

The relatively low temperatures of the trade center fires mean that traces of dozens of toxic chemicals and heavy metals are carried into the air, including benzene, a cancer-causing compound released when fuels are burned, and styrene, a gas emitted by burning plastic. At times the chemicals in the air at the site reach dangerous levels, particularly when fire flares up, as it did on Nov. 8.

EPA’s early public statements following the collapse of the WTC towers reassured the public regarding the safety of the air outside the Ground Zero area. However, when EPA made a September 18 announcement that the air was “safe” to breathe, it did not have sufficient data and analyses to make such a blanket statement. At that time, air monitoring data was lacking for several pollutants of concern, including particulate matter and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Furthermore, The White House Council on Environmental Quality influenced, through the collaboration process, the information that EPA communicated to the public through its early press releases when it convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones.

EPA’s early statements reassured the public regarding the safety of the air outside the Ground Zero perimeter area. However, when EPA made a September 18 announcement that the air was “safe” to breathe, the Agency did not have sufficient data and analyses to make the statement. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) influenced, through the collaboration process, the information that EPA communicated to the public through its early press releases when it convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones.

EPA issued five press releases within 10 days after September 11, 2001, four more through the end of December, and another four through the end of May 2002. EPA’s WTC press releases from September through December 2001 reassured the public about air quality. Although EPA’s press releases generally recommended that rescue and cleanup workers take precautions to reduce their exposure to pollutants, EPA’s basic overriding message was that the public did not need to be concerned about airborne contaminants caused by the WTC collapse. This reassurance appeared to apply to both indoor and outdoor air.

EPA Statements On Air Quality 9/13 to 10/30/01:

09-13-01 "Monitoring and sampling conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday have been very reassuring about potential exposure of rescue crews and the public to environmental contaminants. . . . EPA and OSHA will work closely with rescue and cleanup crews to minimize their potential exposure, but the general public should be very reassured by initial sampling."

09-16-01 “Our tests show that it is safe for New Yorkers to go back to work in New York’s financial district” (quoting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA). “The Agency is recommending that businesses in the area planning to reopen next week take precautions including cleaning air conditioning filters and using vacuums with appropriate filters to collect dust.”

09-18-01 “I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C. that their air is safe to breath [sic] . . . ” (quoting EPA Administrator).

09-21-01 “NYC Monitoring Efforts Continue to Show Safe Drinking Water & Air” (press release heading).

10-03-01 “Data Confirms No Significant Public Health Risks; Rescue Crews and Nearby Residents Should Take Appropriate Precautions. . . ” (press release sub-heading).

10-30-01 “While we have fortunately not found levels of contaminants that pose a significant health risk to the general public, our efforts to monitor the area and keep the public informed of our findings have not waned. “

EPA provided public access to its monitoring data through its public web site, which included interactive maps that could be used to identify monitoring results. In regard to the monitoring data, we found no evidence that EPA attempted to conceal data results from the public.

In addition to not knowing the health impacts of certain individual pollutants, information was not available on the cumulative or synergistic impacts of being exposed to several pollutants at once. For example, one medical expert suggested there may be a synergistic effect between PAHs and asbestos, since PAHs resemble cigarette tar. Studies have shown the lung cancer risk from exposure to asbestos is increased exponentially for cigarette smokers. In addition, this expert noted that the combination of high pH and the small shards of glass found in WTC dust could have had a synergistic impact on the acute respiratory symptoms that many people experienced.

Over 25 percent of the bulk dust samples that EPA had collected and analyzed by September 18 showed the presence of asbestos above the 1 percent threshold used by EPA to indicate significant risk.

As a result of the White House CEQ’s influence, guidance for cleaning indoor spaces and information about the potential health effects from WTC debris were not included in EPA’s issued press releases. In addition, based on CEQ’s influence, reassuring information was added to at least one press release and cautionary information was deleted from EPA’s draft version of that press release.

Both NYCDDC and OSHA officials told us that the WTC site was under continuous dust suppression, and the latter said this dust suppression was very successful. An EPA On-Scene Coordinator told us that once dust suppression began, water was sprayed wherever there was dust and, to the best of his knowledge, this practice was successful. OSHA officials further stated that it would have been too dangerous to send abatement contractors into WTC 4, WTC 5, or WTC 6 to remove asbestos-containing material before demolition.

Kucinich Reads Impeachment Article #34: (broken link) (CaSO4_2H2O)_Jmol.html (broken)


Scientists struggle to understand the complex mixture of aerosols released during and after the destruction of the World Trade Center

October 20, 2003

Volume 81, Number 42

CENEAR 81 42 pp. 26-30

ISSN 0009-2347


EPA WTC Air Quality Survey

WASHINGTON – “At the White House's direction, the Environmental Protection Agency gave New Yorkers misleading assurances that there was no health risk from the debris-laden air after the World Trade Center collapse, according to an internal inquiry. “The White House "convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones" by having the National Security Council control EPA communications after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according to a report issued late Thursday by EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley.

In all, the EPA issued five news releases within 10 days of the attacks and four more by the end of 2001 reassuring the public about air quality. [Soon,] respiratory ailments and other problems began to surface in hundreds…

"Tests revealed the dust to be extremely alkaline with a pH of 12.1 (out of 14) and that some of it was as caustic as liquid drain cleaner. It was obvious that precautions had to be taken to protect the workers and people returning to their homes from the dust.” Gregg Swayze, USGS

• Sam Vance, an environmental scientist with the EPA, sent the results to officials at the EPA..

• [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2/10/02]

“James Connaughton, chairman of the environmental council, which coordinates federal environmental efforts, said the White House directed the EPA to add and delete information based on how it should be released publicly…”

• “It was much more important to open up Wall St. than it was to worry about our health,” said former city councilperson.. Kathryn Freed… “We’ve known it was a cover-up since the beginning,” Jain said [president of Battery Pk Residents Coalition]. Downtown Express, “Residents Angry,” August 19, 2003.

“White House Misled City on Post-9/11 Health Issues”

By Laurie Garrett, Newsday August 22, 2003

• “Language in an EPA draft stating that asbestos levels in some areas were three times higher than national standards was changed to "slightly above the 1 percent trigger for defining asbestos material.“

• This sentence was added to a Sept. 16 press release: "Our tests show that it is safe for New Yorkers to go back to work in New York's financial district."

• A warning on the importance of safely handling Ground Zero cleanup, due to lead and asbestos exposure, was changed to say that some contaminants had been noted downtown but "the general public should be very reassured by initial sampling.“

• New York's leaders responded with dismay.

• Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) called for a Justice Department investigation. "That the White House instructed EPA officials to downplay the health impact of the World Trade Center contaminants due to 'competing considerations' at the expense of the health and lives of New York City residents is an abomination," he said in a press release.

• “I want an independent investigation to determine exactly who at the White House manipulated the information.” D. Yassky

• The White House did not respond to requests for comment.”

9/11 Dust: 15,000+ Sick

• USA Today article 6/26/2006:

• “The number of people with medical problems linked to the 9/11 attacks on New York has risen to at least 15,000.

• “On Tuesday, a coroner said the death of a policeman who developed a respiratory disease was "directly linked" to 9/11. “

• Problems mount from 9/11 fallout By David Shukman BBC News science correspondent 4/12/2006

We found out what a powerful force gravity is. Everything was completely pulverized. You saw gray dirt, which was pulverized concrete, and you saw beams and you saw pipes, basically, with a lot of wires around. You didn’t see anything identifiable beyond those three things, and pieces of paper every place. You didn’t see a chair, a desk, a computer screen. I never saw a piece of glass the whole time I was there. -Firefighter-special-operations panel member

The two towers, for example, were primarily office buildings. Yet, in the rubble, they have found no glass, no desks, no filing cabinets, no evidence of the primary work that went on.

All statements to the media should be cleared through the NSC [National Security Council] before they are released. -September 12, 2001, e-mail from EPA Deputy Administrator’s Chief of Staff to senior EPA officials According to the EPA Chief of Staff. One particular CEQ official was designated to work with EPA to ensure that clearance was obtained through NSC. The Associate Administrator for the EPA Office of Communications, Education, and Media Relations (OCEMR)3 said that no press release could be issued for a 3- to 4-week period after September 11 without approval from the CEQ contact.

9/11 first responders twice as likely to have asthma, researchers say:

Risk Assessment for Asbestos-Related Cancer From the 9/11 Attack on the World Trade Center:


Both NYCDDC and OSHA officials told us that the WTC site was under continuous dust suppression, and the latter said this dust suppression was very successful. An EPA On-Scene Coordinator told us that once dust suppression began, water was sprayed wherever there was dust and, to the best of his knowledge, this practice was successful.

Study: 9/11 responders have 15 percent higher cancer rate:

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