Agencies finding no significant health hazards at disaster site
The agencies announced Wednesday that they are providing the public with extensive environmental monitoring data in response to requests for more detailed information. EPA and OSHA are making the results of environmental and occupational sampling available on their Web sites, www.epa.gov and www.osha.gov. They'll continue to post additional data as it becomes available.
In total, EPA and OSHA have taken 835 ambient air samples in the New York City metropolitan area. EPA is currently collecting data from 16 fixed air monitors at ground zero and in the residential and business districts around the site. Both agencies are using portable sampling equipment to collect data from a range of locations throughout the area.
Along with other federal, state and local agencies, EPA and OSHA have been sampling the air, dust, water, river sediments and drinking water and analyzing them for the presence of pollutants such as asbestos, radiation, mercury and other metals, pesticides, PCBs or bacteria that might create health hazards.
"Our data show that contaminant levels are low or nonexistent, and are generally confined to the Trade Center site," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "There is no need for concern among the general public, but residents and business owners should follow recommended procedures for cleaning up homes and businesses if dust has entered."
OSHA Administrator John Henshaw noted that workers on the site should take appropriate steps to protect themselves from potential exposure to contaminants by using respirators and washing stations, but there is no threat to public health.