September 25, 2003 6:25 PM
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and the environmental aftermath were unprecedented. Airborne dust from the collapse of the towers blanketed Lower Manhattan and was blown or dispersed into many of the surrounding office buildings, schools, and residences.
This complex mixture of building debris and combustion by-products contained such ingredients as asbestos, lead, glass fibers, and concrete dust. Responding to this crisis required organizations from all levels of government to coordinate their response efforts and to make critical public health and safety decisions quickly, and without all of the data that decision-makers would normally desire.