Main contents

Asbestos in the World Trade Center

Asbestos removal is a very difficult task. Removing the toxic material from a home is complicated, but imagine how difficult it would be to dispose five thousand tons of material from large skyscrapers in the heart of New York City.

The uses of asbestos are wide spread. One of the most prominent applications of asbestos material is fireproofing. What most people do not know, however, is that the asbestos materials were integrated into the building of the World Trade Center. At the time of the World Trade Center construction, there were no environmental codes to follow because it was built by Port Authority, which was exempt from any of these compliances. What is ironic about the negligence of environmental codes in this instance is that New York City is said to have the best environmental, building and corresponding licensing in the world.

Unfortunately, as millions of Americans watched the towers fall, an overabundance of toxic material and debris, seen and unseen, fell loose into the air. That devastating day was focused on those who lost their lives and those who volunteered to help others in need. The aftermath left many concerned about the environmental effects of the fallen towers. It has been noted that the amount of asbestos released into the air as the towers fell was record breaking. The heroic actions of the volunteers will be eternally remembered, but it is unfortunate to realize the lack of protection they received from the dangerous material and debris left on the ground and in the air. The actions rendered on that day left clean up and decontamination a tremendous task. Proper control and removal of asbestos was the last concern of many who volunteered that day. There are currently many resources of information that cautions bystanders and workers who could have or are possibly affected by the dangerous debris.

Since the twin towers were constructed with asbestos, it is inevitable that asbestos toxins were released into the air. The workers and bystanders who may have been affected should take proper precautions of getting tested as soon as possible. Even though the affects of asbestos exposure do not show up for many years, it is important for the person to know whether or not they may be affected. For workers who were apart of the disaster, and those involved with the post-clean up, it is important for them to take proper precautions to help minimize the contamination of themselves and others. Some steps include, not bringing contaminated clothes home, to your car, or away from the site where the asbestos removal is taking place. Also, leave all tools at the worksite, and do not wash any contaminated clothes at home. The asbestos removal team should provide proper materials and safety gear for those participating.

Despite the strong fibers that asbestos material contains, the aftermath of its effects is devastating. The lives that were so abruptly lost that day could increase many years from now because of the life threatening lung-related diseases that could come forth for those who were exposed. Lung-related cancers such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and other life threatening diseases are a sincere threat to the hundreds of thousands exposed that day.