Some Asbestos Found After NY Steam Vent Explosion

New York officials announced on Thursday morning, July 19th, the day after a steam vent exploded at 41st and Lexington, that air quality tests showed no asbestos in the air – as was originally reported – but they did find asbestos in some debris and dust that had settled.

An Associated Press article reported that the city Office of Emergency Management said tests were continuing in the area, but that long-term health problems were unlikely.

Crews worked overnight to assess and repair the damage after the eruption that sent people running for cover as debris rained down, said the article. About 30 people were injured, at least four seriously, officials said.

Many equated the chaos of the explosion of the 83-year-old steam pipe with the scene after the 9/11 tragedy, but on a smaller scope. We were scared to death. It sounded like a bomb hit or a bomb went off, just like 9/11. People were hysterical, crying, running down the street, said Karyn Easton, a customer at a salon a few blocks from the site of the blast. It was really surreal. But city officials quickly ruled out terrorism, reports noted.

Environment quality officials say they took eight air quality samples shortly after the explosion. None showed any significant amounts of asbestos. However, six of 10 samples of debris and dust came back positive. Residents who were already in the area were permitted to stay. The city told them to keep windows closed and air conditioners set to recirculate indoor air instead of drawing it from outside, and anyone exposed to the falling debris was instructed to wash carefully and isolate soiled clothing in plastic bags.

The city has been under fire for allegedly underplaying the poor air quality found throughout the city after the 9/11 tragedy. Many first responders and Ground Zero workers have already been sickened with respiratory diseases due to toxic dust.

Leave a Reply