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EPA Begins Final Lower Manhattan Testing Program

Release Date: 12/06/2006
Contact Information: Mary Mears (212) 637-3675 / mears.mary@epa.gov; Bonnie Bellow (212) 637-3660 / bellow.bonnie@epa.gov

(New York, NY) In the final phase of its response to the events of September 11, 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the beginning of a $7 million program to test indoor spaces in Lower Manhattan.

“It is time to begin this final phase in EPA’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “We hope that the program will provide peace of mind to people who live and work in Lower Manhattan.”

“The vast majority of occupied residential and commercial spaces in Lower Manhattan have been repeatedly cleaned, and we believe the potential for exposure related to dust that may remain from the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings is low,” said Dr. George M. Gray, Assistant Administrator for the EPA Office of Research and Development. “The Test and Clean Program offers participants a way to get information about the possible presence of contaminants in their homes and buildings.”

The program, which covers the areas south of Canal Street and west of Allen and Pike Streets, will allow residents and building owners to have the air and dust in their units tested for four contaminants associated with dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center. Priority for testing will be based on a property’s proximity to the World Trade Center site. Through sampling results, EPA will provide information to people who live and work in Lower Manhattan about levels of certain contaminants in their homes or buildings.

If analysis of dust and air samples finds elevated levels of any of four contaminants of concern – asbestos, man-made vitreous fibers such as fiberglass, lead, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – the contaminants will be cleaned up. The Agency will open the two-month registration period in January 2007. Testing of interior spaces is expected to begin in the spring.

Under the program announced today, local residents and owners of commercial or residential buildings closest to Ground Zero will receive priority for testing and cleaning if registration for the program is high. The program is limited to $7 million provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The number of residential and commercials spaces that will be addressed under the program will depend upon a number of factors, including the square footage of the units participating.

For a complete description of the EPA Test and Clean Program, please go to EPA’s Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/wtc/testandclean.

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