Dust: The Inside Story of Its Role in the September 11th Aftermath

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Overview

One of the first scientists to take samples from Ground Zero after the destruction of the Twin Towers, Lioy shares his personal and professional perspectives on the World Trade Center dust. What was in the material that rained down after the disintegration of these buildings? Why did officials wrongly choose to focus on the release of asbestos? How did the size of the dust particles influence the development of the World Trade Center Cough among rescue workers and other New Yorkers? When were respirators used on ...

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Dust: The Inside Story of its Role in the September 11th Aftermath

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Overview

One of the first scientists to take samples from Ground Zero after the destruction of the Twin Towers, Lioy shares his personal and professional perspectives on the World Trade Center dust. What was in the material that rained down after the disintegration of these buildings? Why did officials wrongly choose to focus on the release of asbestos? How did the size of the dust particles influence the development of the World Trade Center Cough among rescue workers and other New Yorkers? When were respirators used on site and what changes should be made to respirator design now? Dust answers these, and many other, questions about the environmental effects, public policy initiatives, health outcomes and scientific findings that played a critical role in the aftermath of September 11th. Beyond providing insightful analysis of what happened then, this book details the significant steps we need to take in order to better prepare for future catastrophes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Library Journal
A celebrated specialist in environmental medicine, Keane (the deputy director of Rutgers Occupational Health Science Institute) had a leading role in analyzing the public health issues in lower Manhattan following 9/11. In the chaotic aftermath of the World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attack, he reports, "the rush to rescue without adequate personal protection... or knowledge of the potential effects of WTC dust" actually tripled the number of victims; some 6,000 first responders and rescue workers (especially those working in the first 72 hours) inhaled a blizzard of white dust released by the explosion and ongoing fires, leading to serious injury and illness (though it could easily have been worse, had winds not moved the smoke plume over Brooklyn and out to sea). In this comprehensive report, Lio chronicles the government's environmental and health assessment efforts, including many setbacks and pitfalls, and lessons that need learning; the most important lesson he derives is the need for greater preparedness in order to "minimize the acute exposure... among workers and the community" in the vicinity of a disaster without diminishing the immediate effort to rescue those in harm's way. Four appendices include an extensive bibliography, 10 tables on dust composition, and the peer review of the EPA's final report.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
CHOICE
Dust is an interesting, timely discussion of one investigator's findings concerning released particulate matter from the World Trade Center (WTC) in the aftermath of September 11th. After September 11th, it was widely known that the released particulate matter was toxic, but it was not known how toxic. Lioy (environmental and occupational medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School) describes the circumstances and results of his efforts to investigate the extent of the toxicity of the particulate matter. Basic investigatory chapters include introductory material, aspects of dust collection, sample analysis, and a discussion on exposure. The book then discusses the presence of lead and other materials (e.g., chrysotile asbestos) in the WTC dust in the samples, and a discussion of unknowns. The final chapter is titled "Exposure Science in Future Catastrophes." Dust could be a very useful supplementary resource for courses intended to address homeland security or courses that are focused on exposure to airborne contaminants. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.
Chemical & Engineering News
The author shares his personal and professional perspectives on the World Trade Center dust…that played a critical role in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
Booklist
Striving for public education, Lioy achieves his purpose for readers interested in the health effects of 9/11.
Daniel A. Vallero
In Dust, Paul Lioy captures many watershed events following the attacks on September 11, 2001 through much of this decade. He does so in a way only a first-hand participant can. This is no ordinary journey. Dr. Lioy not only describes the events in vivid prose as only a impassioned New Yorker can, but also with the rigor of a world renowned researcher and seasoned educator. Dr. Lioy applies both sides of his brain to stitch a tapestry of emotion and reason, of reverence and objectivity, and of deconstruction and lessons learned. This important book is essential reading that will evoke discussion in the classroom, the boardroom and the living room, in the college seminar and in the church basement. Dr. Lioy’s brilliant and eclectic career has prepared him for a book that reaches the scientist and the non-technical reader, alike. I hope and expect his insights and recommendations will be heeded.
Dennis Smith
Dr. Paul Lioy has made an important contribution to the literature of 9/11 with DUST for he convinces us that in addition to the horrendous loss of life in that attack on America there was also a more subtle but very definable environmental disaster inflicted upon us. All of the rescue and recovery workers at the World Trade Center knew that the air was toxic, but just how toxic it was has not been fully understood until this book, told in a language that is clear and understandable yet with the power of scientific credibility and Dr. Lioy's credentials. The people of New York, New Jersey and the workers at that tragic place will learn much about the air they were breathing while the world watched in shock. It may be too late for some who did their best that day and the succeeding days, but with DUST we now have a wake-up call about the way we prepare for future environmental disasters.
Dana Boyd Barr
Dust is an amazing recollection of the scientific issues surrounding exposures after 9/11. Dr. Lioy's firsthand involvement with these studies and his scientific expertise qualify him to write such a book. But the personal aspects he brings to the writing provides much perspective into what our nation was facing at the time. I highly recommend reading this book.
Philip J. Landrigan
A sobering and realistic assessment of the environmental consequences of 9/11 by one of the nation's leading experts. This authoritative work will inform decisions on the management of major disasters for years to come.
Clifford Chanin
A compelling combination of personal memoir and scientific investigation, Dust explores one of the most consequential - but least understood - outcomes of the 9/11 attacks and the collapse of the Twin Towers. The challenge Paul Lioy and his colleagues faced lay in determining what was contained in a kind of dust that no one had ever seen, what risks it posed, and how it could be handled. Lioy creates a timeline of damage and dispersal that takes the reader through the fascinating process of discovery. An accessible and intriguing account of this important episode in the history of 9/11.
Anthony DePalma
Paul Lioy was one of the first scientific investigators to show up at Ground Zero and he relentlessly analyzed the dust he collected there until it surrendered its dark secrets, which he lays out in razor sharp detail in Dust. Dr. Lioy leads readers on a precise and personal journey through the haze of ignorance and emotion unleashed by the 9/11 attacks. In the process he brings great clarity to what happened to our air after the towers came down. But he is writing not just about the past. Just as he wants to leave a record of those days for his grandchildren, he is intent on laying out options for what can be done to minimize the harm of future catastrophes. Dustis an important book for these perilous times.
Scientific American
Ten years later, no one knows what was in the cloud of gases released by the combustion of all that jet fuel and building material but science has revealed what was in the dust—cement, steel, gypsum from drywall, building materials, cellulose from paper, synthetic molecules from rugs, glass fibers and human hair from the long decades of the two towers' use, among other items. "The [World Trade Center] dust held everything we consider near and dear to us," wrote Lioy, who carried out the first such analysis, in his book Dust: The Inside Story of Its Role in the September 11th Aftermath.
Chemical and Engineering News
The author shares his personal and professional perspectives on the World Trade Center dust…that played a critical role in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
Environmental Health Perspectives
Dust: The Inside Story of Its Role in the September 11th Aftermath provides a first-hand account of this country’s response to the environmental health threat following the 11 September 2001 (9/11) attack on the World Trade Center (WTC). This important story could not have been told with as great an understanding until now. The 9 ensuing years have allowed the emotional distance necessary for a thoughtful analysis, providing both perspective and the time needed for health effects from long and short-term exposures to be revealed....Lioy describes the successes and failures of this country’s environmental health science response in recognizing, evaluating, and controlling the threat to worker and community health....While focusing on the science, Lioy weaves in the political and human influences involved in allocating scarce resources amid complex stakeholder interests and participation, including community, union, academic, federal, state, and local organizations....It is apt that Lioy writes for a broad audience that might comprise scientists and nonscientists, policy makers and communities, graduate students and undergraduates....When the next environmental disaster occurs, thanks to Lioy and the many others like him who have worked tirelessly to evaluate and mitigate the WTC environmental health threat, our response will be quicker and better coordinated, grounded in a better understanding of the science, and ultimately more effective in minimizing risks to workers and communities. Lioy states that he wrote the book for his grandchildren, but the impact of his work will strike a much broader readership, both today and well into the future.
Library Journal
Since the 2001 collapse of the World Trade Center, much has been written about the health risks posed by the material known as WTC dust. In this exhaustive history, Lioy (exposure science, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Inst., Rutgers Univ.) brings together the facts and controversies. Lioy was among the first scientists on the scene after the 9/11 attacks, and he gives a detailed account of how his sampling was done and precisely what the dust samples contained. He discusses how other agencies were involved in determining the toxicity of the dust and providing guidance on cleaning it up. A recurring theme is that the public is still basically clueless about what to do in a chemical, radiological, or biological disaster and that we must strive for better ways to deal quickly with catastrophic terrorist events. VERDICT Making a mass of scientific data accessible to the general reader and adding his personal insights, Lioy presents an evenhanded account of a complex subject. Recommended for readers interested in the environmental issues of 9/11 as well as academic and public libraries, especially those with collections in exposure science and emergency management.—Ilse Heidmann, Washington State Lib., Olympia
The Washington Post
A professor of environmental medicine examines the dust produced by the disintegration of the World Trade Center and the response by public officials to its environmental effects.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
In this well-written and flowing work, Dr. Lioy describes the environmental/health story of the dust from the beginning when he watched the horrible story unfold on television. Dr. Lioy was well prepared to help. With a long history of expertise in exposure science, he became part of a team, which included occupational physicians.

Unlike the many medical studies that have looked at health effects of 9/11, Lioy’s book is unique in that it concentrates on the content and nature of the dust while including the fascinating story of the politics and risk communication occurring following this unprecedented type of exposure.

The technical aspects of the dust and their effects on the body are written in an easy to understand manner which can be appreciated by the lay-public as well and also is useful for the occupational physician. Occupational physicians dealing with dust and chemical exposures will find it extremely interesting and useful as they process clinical care of individuals exposed to any type of dust or chemical.

Risk Analysis
Dust is an exceptionally interesting book for reasons that go far beyond its nominal topic, which is the particulate matter that is the residue of the World Trade Center (WTC) as it last stood on September 11, 2001. However, although “dust” is the topic of the book, there is much more beneath the surface that makes it essential reading as a case study in a neglected dimension of risk perception and communication studies: the perception of the expert.

This book should be read carefully and studied closely by everyone interested in how experts interact with the public and the fundamental issues of risk communication from the expert point of view.

Choice
Dust is an interesting, timely discussion of one investigator's findings concerning released particulate matter from the World Trade Center (WTC) in the aftermath of September 11th. After September 11th, it was widely known that the released particulate matter was toxic, but it was not known how toxic. Lioy (environmental and occupational medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School) describes the circumstances and results of his efforts to investigate the extent of the toxicity of the particulate matter. Basic investigatory chapters include introductory material, aspects of dust collection, sample analysis, and a discussion on exposure. The book then discusses the presence of lead and other materials (e.g., chrysotile asbestos) in the WTC dust in the samples, and a discussion of unknowns. The final chapter is titled "Exposure Science in Future Catastrophes." Dust could be a very useful supplementary resource for courses intended to address homeland security or courses that are focused on exposure to airborne contaminants. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.
Star Ledger
Dust works as a metaphor and as a book. It is the story of how something relatively small and unorganized wrought havoc on countless innocent lives....It does a good job explaining what was in the air — and eventually lungs — in the days after the towers came down.
Choice
Dust is an interesting, timely discussion of one investigator's findings concerning released particulate matter from the World Trade Center (WTC) in the aftermath of September 11th. After September 11th, it was widely known that the released particulate matter was toxic, but it was not known how toxic. Lioy (environmental and occupational medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School) describes the circumstances and results of his efforts to investigate the extent of the toxicity of the particulate matter. Basic investigatory chapters include introductory material, aspects of dust collection, sample analysis, and a discussion on exposure. The book then discusses the presence of lead and other materials (e.g., chrysotile asbestos) in the WTC dust in the samples, and a discussion of unknowns. The final chapter is titled "Exposure Science in Future Catastrophes." Dust could be a very useful supplementary resource for courses intended to address homeland security or courses that are focused on exposure to airborne contaminants. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442201484
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/8/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul J. Lioy is a Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He is Deputy Director for Government Relations and Director of Exposure Science at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute of Rutgers University and RWJMS-UMDNJ. Dr. Lioy received the International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) Jerome Wesolowski Award for Lifetime Achievement in Exposure in 1998, the Frank Chambers Award for lifetime achievement in Air Pollution from the Air and Waste Management Association in 2003, and the Rutgers University Graduate School’s Distinguished Alumnus award in Mathematics, Engineering and Physical Sciences in 2008. He received a National Conservation Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution, and their Founders Trustees, Ellen Hardin Walworth Medal for Patriotism in 2009. He has served on the Science Advisory Board, US EPA, and the National Research Council, Board of Toxicology and Environmental Studies. He is a founder and past-president of the ISES. Dr. Lioy is an associate editor of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, and of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. He has published over 245 scientific papers and other publications. Honorable Thomas H. Kean, served as Governor of the State of New Jersey 1982-1990, and during his term was rated as one of the nation's most effective leaders by Newsweek magazine. In 2002 he was appointed by President Bush as Chairman, 9/11 Commission. The Commission's Report, released in July of 2004 became a national bestseller, and its recommendations resulted in the largest intelligence reform in the nation's history. He was President of Drew University, Madison, NJ from 1990 through 2005, stressing teaching, creative use of technology in the liberal arts, and international education. Currently he serves on numerous boards, and has a regular column with The Star Ledger, NJ.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
When Life Changed
Collecting Dust at Ground Zero
Freeing the WTC Dust
Who is in Charge Here?
Timing is Everything
A Scientific Framework
The Presence of Lead (Pb)
What Was in that WTC Dust?
Into the Unknown: Exposure and Health
Talking and Writing: To What End?
WTC Dust Sticks Like Glue
Exposure Science in Future Catastrophes
Final Thoughts
Appendix A: Bibliography
Appendix B: Presentation of the detailed data set on the compounds measured in the WTC Dust Samples
Appendix C: Original Members of the WTC Panel
Appendix D: Comments on the WTC Signature Study and Peer Review

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 7, 2010

    Very impressive

    This book provides valuable information on dust exposure, which can be linked to potential health effects, in the aftermath of 9/11, one of the most horrific days in the world as well as American history. This book is strongly recommended to scientists, officials, and especially students who are associated with environmental works.

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