EPA Plays Integral Cleanup Role

New York -- The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been given up to $83 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help with cleanup activities and monitor environmental conditions in lower Manhattan.

The EPA is working closely with federal, state and local officials, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to help with cleanup methods for hazardous materials and site monitoring.

But the EPA's primary concern, according to a statement issued by Administrator Christie Whitman, is to ensure that rescue workers and the public are not exposed to elevated levels of potentially hazardous contaminants in the dust and debris in and around the disaster area. To that end, the agency has provided dust masks and has suggested authorities keep site debris wet to avoid airborne dust that can lead to or aggravate respiratory problems.