The collapse of the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001, sent dust and debris across much of Manhattan and in the surrounding areas. Indoor and outdoor dust samples were collected and characterized by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists using scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS). From this characterization, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and USGS developed a particulate screening method to determine the presence of residual World Trade Center dust in the indoor environment using slag wool as a primary "signature". The method describes a procedure that includes splitting, ashing, and sieving of collected dust. From one split, a 10 mg/mL dust/ isopropanol suspension was prepared and 10-30 ??L aliquots of the suspension placed on an SEM substrate. Analyses were performed using SEM/EDS manual point counting for slag wool fibers. Poisson regression was used to identify some of the sources of uncertainty, which are directly related to the small number of fibers present on each sample stub. Preliminary results indicate that the procedure is promising for screening urban background dust for the presence of WTC dust. Consistent sample preparation of reference materials and samples must be performed by each laboratory wishing to use this method to obtain meaningful and accurate results. ?? 2009 American Chemical Society.
Additional publication details
Method development for analysis of urban dust using scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry to detect the possible presence of world trade center dust constituents