Last night, officials tested the air at the World Trade Center site for asbestos, as concerns over what searchers looking for September 11 remains may turn up as they uncover some areas that may not have been disturbed for five years. Deputy Mayor Ed Sklyer said, "In order to ensure worker safety during the search for remains, the city's Department for Environmental Protection will conduct ongoing air and material sampling at the affected locations. If any asbestos is detected, workers will use the proper protective gear."
Of course, this comes as other officials said they wanted more searching in 2002. WNBC 4 reports that the "project finished months ahead of city officials' yearlong prediction, and cost about $750 million -- just a fraction of the initial multibillion-dollar estimate," as the cleanup operation wanted to get their job done and make way for construction. Retired Police Lieutenant John McArdle, who was the NYPD's ground zero commander spoke to the AP:
"I knew that this was going to happen -- they really just wanted us out of there. "There was not a good exit strategy for some of these places, and if there was, it was poorly done....
"There came a point in time when [Department of Design and Construction] said, 'We gotta try to wrap this up,' and they tried to expedite it as much as possible, and they jumped the gun, and now you have all of these families hurt and they're finding all these body parts."
Mayor Bloomberg admits that there was pressure to complete the searches, and says that the city is committed to the current search. But construction will continue, since those areas have already been searched. Or so everyone thinks.
The NY Times has an article about the toxic dust from September 11 and how doctors believe the dust did cause one woman's death five months later (while the city ME hasn't put her on the September 11 victims list). And other doctors found that search-and-rescue dogs who worked on September 11 have not gotten sick from any major illnesses.
Photograph of the World Trade Center site by Mary Altaffer/AP