Very Fine Aerosols from the World Trade Center Collapse Piles: Anaerobic Incineration

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By September 14, three days after the initial World Trade Center collapse, efforts at fire suppression and heavy rainfall had extinguished the immediate surface fires. From then until roughly mid-December, the collapse piles continuously emitted an acrid smoke and fume in the smoldering phase of the event. Knowledge of the sources, nature, and concentration of these aerosols is important for evaluation and alleviation of the health effects on workers and nearby residents. In this paper, we build on our earlier work to ascribe these aerosols to similar processes that occur in urban incinerators. The simultaneous presence of finely powdered (circa ... continued below

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Cahill, T A; Cliff, S S; Shackelford, J; Meier, M; Dunlap, M; Perry, K D et al. February 27, 2004.

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By September 14, three days after the initial World Trade Center collapse, efforts at fire suppression and heavy rainfall had extinguished the immediate surface fires. From then until roughly mid-December, the collapse piles continuously emitted an acrid smoke and fume in the smoldering phase of the event. Knowledge of the sources, nature, and concentration of these aerosols is important for evaluation and alleviation of the health effects on workers and nearby residents. In this paper, we build on our earlier work to ascribe these aerosols to similar processes that occur in urban incinerators. The simultaneous presence of finely powdered (circa 5 {micro}m) and highly basic (pH 11 to 12) cement dust and high levels of very fine (< 0.25 {micro}m) sulfuric acid fumes helps explain observed health impacts. The unprecedented levels of several metals in the very fine mode can be tied to liberation of those metals that are both present in elevated concentrations in the debris and have depressed volatility temperatures caused by the presence of organic materials and chlorine.

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  • Presented at: American Chemical Society, New York, NY, United States, Sep 07 - Sep 12, 2003

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  • Report No.: UCRL-CONF-202594
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 15014009
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1410296

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  • February 27, 2004

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  • Jan. 23, 2019, 12:54 p.m.

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  • Jan. 30, 2019, 11:57 a.m.

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Cahill, T A; Cliff, S S; Shackelford, J; Meier, M; Dunlap, M; Perry, K D et al. Very Fine Aerosols from the World Trade Center Collapse Piles: Anaerobic Incineration, article, February 27, 2004; Livermore, California. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1410296/: accessed March 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.