Lab to call NY officials today with dust analysis
By JASON McFARLEY
A team of Notre Dame researchers expected today to contact New York officials with analysis of dust and debris from the collapsed twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Professors Jinesh Jain and Clive Neal, both of the University's civil engineering and geological sciences departments, since Friday have studied samples delivered from ground zero of the fallen skyscrapers that were struck by terrorists Sept. 11.
Results from the study will determine whether the ruins pose a health risk to rescuers at the attack site or to Manhattan residents.
"It's a good feeling that they contacted us," Jain said of officials at New York University Department of Environmental Medicine, who last week shipped nine samples of Trade Center debris to Notre Dame.
"We feel good that we are contributing something to the rescue effort," he said.
The scientists tested for toxic metals and other contaminants in the grayish-white samples, according to Neal.
"We were asked to look at elemental abundances in the samples," Neal said. "What is in the dust ... that's what we want to know."
"There were lots of rescue workers and other people who inhaled the dust," Jain said. "We want to make sure there's no long-term effects."
The men will phone preliminary results to New York today and will complete tests in the Notre Dame laboratory for at least another week, Neal said. Chemistry professor Al Miller may assist in further testing.
The researchers were unsure when or if test results would be released to the public.
"We'll let New York University know the results first, and they'll make the call whether they want to make the information public," Neal said.
The civil engineering and geological sciences lab has a history of conducting analysis in high-profile projects.
In the past, the lab analyzed moon and meteorite samples. In 1996, University researchers examined wreckage from the TWA Flight 800 explosion.
The lab also has performed studies for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Contact Jason McFarley at firstname.lastname@example.org
All News Stories for Thursday, September 27, 2001