Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA)

Homeland Security: Managing the Risks

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Courtesy of Courtesy of Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA)

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Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies conducted extensive assessments of the air quality and associated environmental and health effects near the so-called “Ground Zero” site. EPA’s activities included air monitoring and modeling of the fire and debris plume, a toxicological study of fine particulate matter, and an assessment of the public’s risk from environmental pollution stemming from the collapse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers. In addition, the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology commissioned a Joint Action Group to assess atmospheric transport and dispersion models for use in emergency planning and rapid response.

In November 2002, EPA invited several scientists from the national laboratories, federal agencies, and academia to a workshop to discuss issues associated with monitoring, modeling, and assessing health risks from exposure to air pollutants as a result of national emergencies and disasters. This month’s EM focuses About the Author
S.T. Rao is director of the Atmospheric Sciences Modeling Division of NOAA, which is on permanent assignment to EPA. Dr. Rao is an A&WMA Fellow and member of the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association’s Editorial Review Board. He can be reached at on the efforts of EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other federal agencies to evaluate the potential environmental and health impacts from the events of 9/11. The six articles that follow deal with air quality monitoring, atmospheric modeling, risk assessment, and programs to address 9/11 and other homeland security issues.

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