Chemical contamination assessment of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center: Analysis of trace elements
ABSTRACT The attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) resulted in the destruction of buildings, and the release of tons of dust and debris into the environment. As part of the effort to characterize the environmental impact of the WTC collapse, Mussel Watch Program trace element measurements from the Hudson-Raritan Estuary (HRE) were assessed for the years before (1986-2001) and after (2001-2005) the attack. Trace element measurements in the HRE were significantly higher than Mussel Watch measurements taken elsewhere in the Nation. Post-attack trace element measurements were not significantly different from pre-attack measurements. The impacts of WTC collapse may have been obscured by high ambient levels of trace elements in the HRE.
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ABSTRACT: The explosion and collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) was a catastrophic event that produced an aerosol plume impacting many workers, residents, and commuters during the first few days after 11 September 2001. Three bulk samples of the total settled dust and smoke were collected at weather-protected locations east of the WTC on 16 and 17 September 2001; these samples are representative of the generated material that settled immediately after the explosion and fire and the concurrent collapse of the two structures. We analyzed each sample, not differentiated by particle size, for inorganic and organic composition. In the inorganic analyses, we identified metals, radionuclides, ionic species, asbestos, and inorganic species. In the organic analyses, we identified polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, pesticides, phthalate esters, brominated diphenyl ethers, and other hydrocarbons. Each sample had a basic pH. Asbestos levels ranged from 0.8% to 3.0% of the mass, the PAHs were > 0.1% of the mass, and lead ranged from 101 to 625 microg/g. The content and distribution of material was indicative of a complex mixture of building debris and combustion products in the resulting plume. These three samples were composed primarily of construction materials, soot, paint (leaded and unleaded), and glass fibers (mineral wool and fiberglass). Levels of hydrocarbons indicated unburned or partially burned jet fuel, plastic, cellulose, and other materials that were ignited by the fire. In morphologic analyses we found that a majority of the mass was fibrous and composed of many types of fibers (e.g., mineral wool, fiberglass, asbestos, wood, paper, and cotton). The particles were separated into size classifications by gravimetric and aerodynamic methods. Material < 2.5 microm in aerodynamic diameter was 0.88-1.98% of the total mass. The largest mass concentrations were > 53 microm in diameter. The results obtained from these samples can be used to understand the contact and types of exposures to this unprecedented complex mixture experienced by the surviving residents, commuters, and rescue workers directly affected by the plume from 11 to 12 September and the evaluations of any acute or long-term health effects from resuspendable dust and smoke to the residents, commuters, and local workers, as well as from the materials released after 11 September until the fires were extinguished. Further, these results support the need to have the interior of residences, buildings, and their respective HVAC systems professionally cleaned to reduce long-term residential risks before rehabitation.Environmental Health Perspectives 07/2002; 110(7):703-14. DOI:10.1289/ehp.02110703 · 7.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: With data from the annual analyses of mussels and oysters collected in 1986-1993 from sites located throughout the coastal United States [O'Connor, T.P., 1996. Trends in chemical concentrations in mussels and oysters collected along the US coast from 1986 to 1993. Mar. Environ. Res. 41, 183-200] showed decreasing trends, on a national scale, for chemicals whose use has been banned or has greatly decreased and that concentrations of most other chemicals were neither increasing nor decreasing. With data through 2003 those conclusions still apply. National median concentrations of synthetic organic chemicals and cadmium continue to decrease. The added data show that concentrations of lindane and high molecular weight PAHs are also decreasing on a national scale. For metals other than cadmium and zinc (in mussels), the added data reveal trends at more sites than in 1993 but no additional national trends. However, the longer time series has revealed several local and regional trends.Marine Environmental Research 11/2006; 62(4):261-85. DOI:10.1016/j.marenvres.2006.04.067 · 2.33 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Surficial sediments obtained from sediment cores were collected over 100km along the axis of the lower Hudson River in June 1994, November 1994, May 1995 and April 1996 and showed the presence of anthropogenic Ag, Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn, PCBs in all samples. Contaminant distributions in the Hudson River estuary show two types of trends: Ag, Cu and Pb show an increasing trend down-estuary with maximum values in New York Harbor sediments; in contrast, Cd, Zn and total PCBs display a decreasing trend toward New York Harbor where urban sources are also apparent. Silver is a useful tracer of urban sources of contaminants in the Hudson River estuary and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are useful source indicators of upriver sources. Correlations of Cu and Pb with Ag suggest that Ag, Cu and Pb are dominated by down-estuary sources such as wastewater effluent. The history of their inputs suggests that they have been progressively transported downstream. Correlations of Cd and Zn with total PCBs indicate that these contaminants are dominated by upriver sources, where they are removed and diluted downstream along with the sediment transport.Marine Environmental Research 02/1998; 45(1-45):69-88. DOI:10.1016/S0141-1136(97)00025-1 · 2.33 Impact Factor