Hazardous debris removed from buildings near WTC site

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

NEW YORK -- Dozens of contract workers in protective suits will spend about two months in lower Manhattan cleaning potentially hazardous World Trade Center debris from surrounding buildings, officials said Tuesday.

The solid debris poses no immediate health threat, but city testers found possibly dangerous levels of asbestos on about half of the buildings they examined, officials said.

Over time, that solid debris could erode into dust, which could blow into homes and businesses, officials said.

More than 200 buildings in a six-block radius of the World Trade Center site have been found to have caked debris on them consisting of concrete and other materials pulverized when the twin towers collapsed Sept. 11.

Many of the buildings were cleaned after the terrorist attack, but rainfall hardened some remaining dust in hard-to-reach spots on roofs and building facades, said Diana Chapin, first deputy commissioner of the city's Department of Environmental Protection.

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