Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Summary of the development of a signature for detection of residual dust from collapse of the World Trade Center buildings.

Authors: Lowers, Heather A; Meeker, Gregory P; Lioy, Paul J; Lippmann, Morton

Published In J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol, (2009 Mar)

Abstract: The collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers on September 11, 2001, caused lower Manhattan and adjacent areas to be covered in millimeters to centimeters of dust. WTC dust penetrated into indoor spaces, and public health concerns remain regarding exposure to possible residual dust in the affected areas. The goal of the studies outlined in this review was to determine which, if any, components of the bulk WTC dust are sufficiently above typical background dust levels in New York City to develop an analytical method to screen for the component(s). Components of the <150-microm-size fraction of the dust are gypsum, phases compatible with crushed concrete, man-made vitreous fibers (MMVFs), silica, lead, chrysotile asbestos, and other materials. Slag wool was the most common WTC MMVF, whereas soda-lime glass and rock wool were minor to trace constituents. Most background samples also contained gypsum, phases compatible with concrete, and MMVF. However, the proportions of the various MMVF in background samples are typically unlike those characteristic of bulk WTC dust. Results indicate that slag wool can be used as a signature marker to identify areas that contain potential residual WTC dust contamination at concentrations that are less than average background levels for the material.

PubMed ID: 18478046 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Dust/analysis*; Environmental Pollutants/analysis*; Microscopy, Electron, Scanning; New York City; September 11 Terrorist Attacks*; Structure Collapse*; United States; United States Environmental Protection Agency

to Top