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Asbestos Health Concerns in World Trade Center cleanup

October 25, 2006

Air quality concerns briefly halted the search for remains at the World Trade Center site. Workers feared that their work may have been stirring up contaminants such as asbestos and pulverized glass that had been in the air for months following the attacks.

As previously reported, the toxic air around the trade center was full of mercury, pulverized glass and concrete and asbestos from the lower floors fire proofing. The air has since cleared but the controversy hasn’t as the government plays the blame game as to who will compensate and cover rescuers, employees, and residents of lower Manhattan.

Tests were conducted Tuesday by the EPA and determined that work could continue at the manhole where another 36 remains have been found. The remains recovered ranged in size from 1 to 6 inches and bring the total number of remains recovered to over 150.

After 2 hours of extensive air tests, the EPA gave the go ahead to continue searching.

In a press conference Mayor Michael Bloomberg also admitted that the initial recovery efforts may have been “rushed.”

“Were we under time pressure? Absolutely,” said Bloomberg. “I don't know any family member that didn't want to find out whatever they could about the loved one that they lost, and we did it as fast as we could, consistent with safety and completeness.”

John McArdle, the retired police lieutenant who oversaw the recovery of remains after the terror attacks, says he wanted to take more time at the site but was over-ruled.

Work will resume Wednesday.