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EPA Releases a Draft Health Evaluation of the Effects from the Destruction of the World Trade Center

Release Date: 12/26/2002
Contact Information:


EPA Press Office, 202-564-4355

(12/26/02) EPA today released for public review and comment a draft evaluation on the effects of exposure to airborne pollution from the destruction of the World Trade Center. The draft evaluation concludes that with the exception of those exposed immediately following the collapse and perhaps during the next few days, people in the surrounding community are not likely to suffer from serious long or short term health effects from the attack on the World Trade Center. EPA researchers evaluated the measured outdoor levels of various air pollutants to which the public had been potentially exposed as a result of the collapse of the World Trade Center. These data were evaluated in terms of available health benchmarks and typical background concentrations for New York City or other urban areas.

A Federal Register notice, published December 27, 2002, announced the public availability of the external review draft and the start of a 60-day comment period. Concurrently, the draft report will begin the process of peer review by a panel of independent scientific experts. EPA will address the peer panel’s comments and the public comments in revising the draft document. The draft document is available on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/ncea/wtc.htm
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One of the studies supporting the draft human health evaluation is also being released today. In this study, EPA scientists exposed mice to particulate matter samples collected at the World Trade Center site. The researchers found that the particulate matter samples were mostly dominated by calcium-containing compounds derived from WTC building materials and that a high dose of WTC fine PM could cause mild lung inflammation and air flow obstruction in mice. These findings suggest that a similarly high dose in people could cause short-term respiratory effects such as inflammation and cough. A final report on the respiratory toxicology studies is available on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/nheerl.