Persistent organic pollutants in the dusts that settled across lower Manhattan after September 11, 2001

J. H. Offenberg, S. J. Eisenreich, L. C. Chen, M. D. Cohen, G. Chee, Colette M. Prophete, C. Weisel, P. J. Lioy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The explosion and collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) was a catastrophic event that produced an aerosol impacting many workers, residents, and commuters during the first few days after September 11, 2001. During the initial days that followed, 14 bulk samples of the settled dust were collected at locations surrounding the epicenter of the disaster, including one indoor location. Some samples were analyzed for many potential hazards, including inorganic and organic constituents as well as morphology. The results of the analyses for persistent organic pollutants are described herein, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and select organochlorine pesticides on settled dust samples. The Σ86-PCBs comprising less than 0.001% by mass of the bulk in the three bulk samples analyzed indicated that PCBs were of limited significance in the total settled dust across lower Manhattan. Likewise, organochlorine 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 Σ37-PAHs comprised up to nearly 0.04% (<0.005-0.039%) by mass of the bulk settled dust in the six bulk samples. Further size segregation of these three initial bulk samples and seven additional samples indicates that Σ37-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. We estimate that approximately 100-1000 tons of Σ37-PAHs were spread over a localized area immediately after the WTC disaster on September 11.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-508
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Organic pollutants
Dust
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
dust
Polychlorinated Biphenyls
PAH
Polychlorinated biphenyls
World Trade Center
PCB
DDT
Pesticides
Disasters
disaster
Mirex
Heptachlor
Chlordan
Hexachlorobenzene
Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene
catastrophic event
chlordane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Persistent organic pollutants in the dusts that settled across lower Manhattan after September 11, 2001. / Offenberg, J. H.; Eisenreich, S. J.; Chen, L. C.; Cohen, M. D.; Chee, G.; Prophete, Colette M.; Weisel, C.; Lioy, P. J.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 37, No. 3, 01.02.2003, p. 502-508.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Offenberg, J. H. ; Eisenreich, S. J. ; Chen, L. C. ; Cohen, M. D. ; Chee, G. ; Prophete, Colette M. ; Weisel, C. ; Lioy, P. J. / Persistent organic pollutants in the dusts that settled across lower Manhattan after September 11, 2001. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2003 ; Vol. 37, No. 3. pp. 502-508.
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