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Persistent Organic Pollutants in Dusts That Settled at Indoor and Outdoor Locations in Lower Manhattan After 11 September, 2001

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Abstract:During the initial days that followed the explosion and collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11th, 2001, fourteen bulk samples of settled dusts were collected at locations surrounding the epicenter of the disaster, and analyzed for persistent organic pollutants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and select organo-chlorine pesticides on settled dust samples. The sigma 86-PCBs comprised less than 0.001% by mass of the bulk in three bulk outdoor samples analyzed, indicating that PCBs were of limited significance in the total settled dust across lower Manhattan. Likewise, organo-chlorine pesticides, including Chlordanes, Hexachlorobenzene, Heptachlor, 4,4'-DDE, 2,4'-DDT, 4,4'-DDT and Mirex were found at low concentrations in the bulk samples. Conversely, the sigma 37-PAHs comprised up to nearly 0.04% (<0.005 to 0.039%) by mass of the bulk settled outdoor dust in the six bulk samples. Further size segregation of three initial bulk samples and seven additional samples indicates that sigma 37-PAHs were found in higher concentrations on relatively large particles (10-53 µm), representing up to 0.04% of the total dust mass. Significant concentrations were also found on fine particles (<2.5 µm), often accounting for ~0.005 % by mass. In addition to these outdoor dusts, twelve bulk samples of the settled dust were collected at indoor locations surrounding the epicenter of the disaster, including one sample from a residence that had been cleansed and was once again occupied. Concentrations of sigma 86-PCBs comprised less than one part per million by mass of the bulk in the two indoor dusts samples analyzed, indicating that PCBs were of limited significance in the dust that settled at indoor locations across lower Manhattan. Likewise, organo-chlorine pesticides, Hexachlorobenzene, Heptachlor, 4,4'-DDE, 2,4'-DDT, 4,4'-DDT and Mirex were found at even lower concentrations in the bulk samples. Conversely, sigma 37-PAHs comprised up to 0.04% (<0.005 to 0.036%) by mass of the bulk indoor dust in the eleven WTC impacted bulk indoor samples. In addition to similar concentrations, comparison of PAH concentration patterns (i.e. chemical fingerprints) shows that dusts that settled indoors are chemically similar to previously measured WTC dusts found at outdoor locations. Analysis of one sample of indoor dusts collected from a vacuum cleaner of a rehabilitated home shows markedly lower PAH concentrations (< 0.0005 mass %), as well as differing relative contributions for individual compounds. These PAH analyses may be used in identifying dusts of WTC origin at indoor locations, along with ascertaining further needs for cleaning.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency through its Office of Research and Development partially funded the research described here. This work has been subjected to peer-review and has been cleared for publication.
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Citation:Offenberg, J., S. Eisenreich, C. L. Gigliotti, L. C. Chen, M. D. Cohen, G. Chee, C. Prophete, J. Q. Xiong, C. Quan, X. Lou, M. Zhong, J. Gorezynski, L. Yiin, V. Illacqua, C. P. Weisel, and P. J. Lioy. Persistent Organic Pollutants in Dusts That Settled at Indoor and Outdoor Locations in Lower Manhattan After 11 September, 2001. Urban Aerosols and Their Impacts , Chapter6. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, (2006).
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Contact: Liz Hope - (919) 541-2785 or hope.elizabeth@epa.gov
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Division: Human Exposure & Atmospheric Sciences Division
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Branch: Process Modeling Research Branch
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Product Type: Book Chaptr
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Published: 12/01/2005
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Bullet Item Persistent Organic Pollutants in Dusts That Settled at Indoor and Outdoor Locations in Lower Manhattan After 11 September, 2001
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