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Technical Panel Formation and First Panel Meeting to Continue Evaluation on Issues Relating to Impacts of the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers

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Environmental Protection Agency.


Notice of meeting.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the formation of an expert technical review panel whose purpose is to provide for greater input on ongoing efforts to monitor the situation for New York residents and workers impacted by the collapse of the World Trade Center. The panel members will help guide the EPA's use of the available exposure and health surveillance databases and registries to characterize any remaining exposures and risks, identify unmet public health needs, and recommend any steps to further minimize the risks associated with the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. The panel will meet several times over the course of approximately two years, and these panel meetings will be open to the public, except where the public interest requires otherwise. Information on the panel meeting agendas, documents (except where the public interest requires otherwise), and public registration to attend the meetings will be available from an Internet Web site. EPA has established an official public docket for this action under Docket ID No. ORD-2004-0003.

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The first meeting of this panel will be held on March 31, 2004, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., eastern standard time. On-site registration will begin at 9 a.m.


The meeting will be held at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green, New York, NY in the Auditorium (basement level). A government-issued identification (e.g., driver's license) is required for entry.

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I. Meeting Information

Eastern Research Group, Inc., (ERG), an EPA contractor, will facilitate the meeting. To attend the meeting as an observer, please register by visiting the Web site at:​wtc/​panel. You may also register for the meeting by calling ERG's conference registration line at (781) 674-7374 or by faxing a registration request to (781) 674-2906 (include full address and contact information). Pre-registration is strongly recommended as space is limited, and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for pre-registration is March 26, 2004. Registrations will continue to be accepted after this date, including on-site registration, if space allows. In addition, there will be a limited time at the meeting for oral comments from the public. Oral comments will be limited to five (5) minutes each. If you wish to make a statement during the observer comment period, please check the appropriate box when you register at the Web site.

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For meeting information, registration and logistics, please see the Web site​wtc/​panel or contact ERG at (781) 674-7374. The meeting agenda and logistical information will be posted on the Web site and will also be available in hard copy. For further information regarding the technical panel, please contact Ms. Lisa Matthews, EPA Office of the Science Advisor, (202) 564-4499.

II. Background Information

Immediately following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York City's World Trade Center, many Federal agencies, including the EPA, were called upon to focus their technical and scientific expertise on the national emergency. EPA, other Federal agencies, New York City, and New York State public health and environmental authorities focused on numerous cleanup, dust collection and ambient air monitoring activities to ameliorate and better understand the human health impacts of the disaster. Detailed information concerning the environmental monitoring activities that were conducted as part of this response is available at the EPA Response to 9-11  Web  site  at​wtc/​.

In addition to environmental monitoring, EPA efforts also included toxicity testing of the dust on laboratory mice, as well as the development of a human exposure and health risk assessment. This risk assessment document, Exposure and Human Health Evaluation of Airborne Pollution from the World Trade Center Disaster (​ncea/​wtc.htm), has been subjected to public comment and expert peer review, and is currently undergoing revisions prior to finalization. Numerous additional studies by other Federal and State agencies, universities, and other organizations have documented impacts to both the outdoor and indoor environments, and to human health.

While these monitoring and assessment activities were ongoing, and the cleanup at Ground Zero itself was occurring, EPA began planning for a program to clean and monitor residential apartments. From June 2002 until December 2002, residents impacted by World Trade Center dust and debris in an area of about 1 mile by 1 mile south of Canal Street were eligible to request federally funded cleaning and monitoring for airborne asbestos or only monitoring of their residences. The cleanup continued into the summer of 2003, by which time the EPA had cleaned and monitored 3400 apartments and monitored an additional 800 apartments. Detailed information on this portion of the EPA response is also available at​wtc/​.

A critical component of understanding long-term human health impacts is the establishment of health registries. The World Trade Center Health Registry is a comprehensive and confidential health survey of those most directly exposed to the contamination resulting from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. It is intended to give health professionals a better picture of the health consequences of 9/11. It was established by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDHMH), in cooperation with a number of academic institutions, public agencies and community groups. Detailed information about the registry can be obtained from the registry Web site at:​html/​doh/​html/​wtc/​index.html.

In order to obtain individual advice on the effectiveness of these programs, unmet needs and data gaps, the EPA will convene a technical panel of experts who have been involved with World Trade Center assessment activities. Dr. Paul Gilman, EPA Science Advisor, will serve as Chair of the panel, and Dr. Paul Lioy, Professor of Environmental and Community Medicine at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School-UMDNJ and Rutgers University, will serve as Vice Chair. A full list of the panel members and a charge statement and operating principles for the panel are available from the panel Web site listed above. Panel meetings will each be one-day meetings, and they will occur over the course of approximately a two-year period. Panel members will provide individual advice on issues the panel addresses. These meetings will occur in New York City and nearby locations. All of the meetings will be announced on the Web site and by a Federal Register notice, and they will be open to the public for attendance and also to provide brief oral comment. The focus of the first meeting is to review the proposed mission statement of the panel and the processes and protocols for the conduct of the panel. Future meetings will address planned activities by EPA regarding monitoring, assessment and health registries. Further information on these meetings can be found at the Web site identified earlier:​wtc/​panel.

III. How To Get Information on E-DOCKET

EPA has established an official public docket for this action under Docket ID No. ORD-2004-0003. The official public docket consists of the documents specifically referenced in this action, any public comments received, and other information related to this action. Although a part of the official docket, the public docket does not include Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. The official public docket is the collection of materials that is available for public viewing at the Office of Environmental Information (OEI) Docket in the Headquarters EPA Docket Center, (EPA/DC) EPA West Building, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460. The EPA Docket Center Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OEI Docket is (202) 566-1752; facsimile: (202) 566-1753; or e-mail: Start Printed Page 12326

An electronic version of the public docket is available through EPA's electronic public docket and comment system, EPA Dockets. You may use EPA Dockets at​edocket/​ to submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the official public docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select “search,” then key in the appropriate docket identification number.

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Dated: March 10, 2004.

Paul Gilman,

EPA Science Advisor and Assistant Administrator for Research and Development.

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[FR Doc. 04-5871 Filed 3-15-04; 8:45 am]