wtc asbestos

The Trouble with WTC Asbestos

David Rockefeller and his brother, Nelson, originally conceived the twin towers as an urban renewal project to revitalize Lower Manhattan. In 1966, 164 buildings, including many electonics stores in seedy radio row, were demolished to create the WTC construction site.

But, with the realization of the Rockefellers' urban renewal dream came a nightmare: by the time the first tenants moved into the North Tower in December 1970, the World Trade Center was rife with asbestos...asbestos that 31 years later covered all of Lower Manhattan.

Exactly How Much Asbestos Did the WTC Contain?
Twin Tower Asbestos

Nobody seems to know exactly how much asbestos was in the WTC, but click on the image to the right and you'll get a pretty good idea: a lot!

The New York Port Authority originally planned to use 5,000 tons of asbestos fireproofing. The fireproofing, trademarked Blade-Shield, was manufactured by United States Mineral Products of Stanhope, N.J. It was 20% asbestos mixed with mineral wool -- a concrete-like substance made from melted rock.

By 1971, medical studies began to show the cancerous effects of asbestos, and New York City banned its use in construction -- but not before asbestos-containing Blade-Shield was sprayed on the beams and supports of the first 40 floors of the Twin Towers.

The Port Authority claims that over half of the applied asbestos-containing fireproofing had been removed by September 11, 2001.

So, how much asbestos remained in the Twin Towers?

Read more: The Trouble with WTC Asbestos.