EPA Downtown Data Doesn't Tell the Whole Story

Oct 21, 2002 Issues: 9/11 Attacks

NEW YORK - Dismissing newly released indoor environmental test results downtown by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “incomplete, unsubstantiated, and illusionary,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today called on the EPA to begin to deal straight with the residents of New York.


His remarks came in light of an EPA press conference to release new environmental indoor testing, which seems to show that, where the EPA has performed cleaning, the indoor environmental quality downtown is “safe” from any hazardous contamination left over from the collapse of the World Trade Center.

“These results are incomplete, unsubstantiated, and illusionary,” said Rep. Nadler.  “The EPA has demonstrated in the past that they would like nothing better than to declare the area safe, so they can pack up their bags and leave the trade center case behind them.  And they continue to prove that today.  What better way to do that than by releasing misleading test results that seem to say, ‘Everything seems fine.’”

“Their continuing aversion to telling the complete truth to the people affected is immoral, bordering on criminal, since lives may be on the line,” he added.

Rep. Nadler made three key points regarding the new EPA test results:

TESTING INCOMPLETE AND NOT VALIDATED - The testing performed in residences was for asbestos only, ignoring many other contaminants.   The EPA is only testing for asbestos suspended in the air, and not testing for asbestos, lead, mercury and other contaminants settled in dust inside buildings and ventilation systems where the majority of contamination would be expected to be found.  In addition, ambient air testing was done, versus the aggressive air testing required by law.  Aggressive air testing agitates settled contaminants, and is done to simulate living conditions.  These results have not been verified by any sort of scientific peer review process, nor has the EPA made raw data available, so that such a verification can be performed.

TEST RESULTS AND LACK OF VERIFICATION ARE MISLEADING - The EPA has declared that a number of residences are “cleared,” without letting residents know that the test results this declaration is based on is incomplete and unsubstantiated.  In short, the cart has been put before the horse.

POSSIBLY CONTAMINATED AREAS BEING IGNORED - The EPA is only performing testing and cleaning in an area of Lower Manhattan with strict borders (South of Canal Street, in Manhattan only), as if the plume of smoke and debris from the World Trade Center was stopped from leaving that area.  Satellite photos have clearly shown that smoke and debris blew into areas of Brooklyn, and most definitely into areas of Manhattan, such as Chinatown, which are not covered under the EPA cleanup and testing program.

Rep. Nadler has served in Congress since 1992.  He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, including the area covered by the EPA cleanup program - and many areas that are not.

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