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Asbestos and the WTC

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Interesting read. I've often thought that a lot of the concern over asbestos was overblown. Trying to remove it from older buildings creates a hazard in the name of of meeting a standard that often does not correlate with the neglible risk of just leaving it in place, undisturbed. But I would have had no problem with the decision to stop using the stuff as the WTC was being built. That may have had an unintended consequence, though. Time for another rethink?

Weekly Commentary

<a href="http://www.accesstoenergy.com/view/ate/s41p1043.htm" target="_blank">Terrorists 1,000 and Enviros 5,000</a>

From September 2001 Access to Energy

[quote]Few Americans will ever forget the images of the World Trade Center towers standing with large holes at floors 96 to 103 of Tower One and floors 87 to 93 of Tower Two. As smoke poured from the holes, some of the steel columns supporting the buildings could be seen glowing orange from the heat of the fires.

While hundreds of victims had already died on the affected floors, most of the occupants, with the help of rescue personnel, were making an orderly evacuation of the buildings. Those trapped above the fire were awaiting help.

Then, to the astonishment and horror of virtually the entire American nation, both buildings fell to the ground - killing an estimated 5,000 people and destroying additional buildings nearby.

In the aftermath, numerous news reports carried a statement by one of the architects of the Trade Towers saying that he did not expect the buildings to fall. ''I designed those buildings to survive the crash of a Boeing 707" was widely quoted.

Not so widely quoted - apparently spiked by most media - was the statement, often made about the Trade Towers in the 1970s by expert in the insulation of steel building columns Herbert Levine, that ''if a fire breaks out above the 64th floor, that building will fall down.'' See ''Asbestos Could Have Saved WTC Lives'' by Steven Milloy, Fox News, September 14, 2001 at <a href="http://www.foxnews.com." target="_blank">www.foxnews.com.</a>

The Trade Tower steel columns were designed to resist fire for at least 4 hours before losing the strength required to support the buildings. Emergency plans called for this four hours to be used to evacuate the buildings. It was expected that helicopters would be used to evacuate any people trapped on the roof and to put out the blaze. Yet, Tower One collapsed after one hour and forty minutes, while Tower Two collapsed after 56 minutes of fire...<hr></blockquote>

[ 11-26-2001: Message edited by: roger_ramjet ]</p>
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post #2 of 11
I would like to see an opinion from a more inpartial source. Not one that equates those who care about the environment with terrorists.

I mean come on.....just look at the other articles on the site:

[quote]The global warming Petition Project continues to erode the myth of a "scientific consensus'' spread by the warmers. At the recent Rio de Janeiro United Nations annual warmer lovefest, the Clinton Administration signed the global energy rationing treaty. Perhaps the coming Senate vote on Clinton's removal from office should be held simultaneously with the Senate ratification vote on this promise to turn off one-third of America's energy supplies.<hr></blockquote>



[ 11-26-2001: Message edited by: DoctorGonzo ]</p>
post #3 of 11
[quote]Originally posted by DoctorGonzo:
<strong>I would like to see an opinion from a more inpartial source. Not one that equates those who care about the environment with terrorists.

I mean come on.....just look at the other articles on the site:





[ 11-26-2001: Message edited by: DoctorGonzo ]</strong><hr></blockquote>

look, terrorists crashed 2 jets into the towers. you can't start blaming it on the engineers for not using cancer causing materials that would have possibly held up slightly better.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by DoctorGonzo:
<strong>I would like to see an opinion from a more inpartial source. Not one that equates those who care about the environment with terrorists.

I mean come on....</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yeah come on. Instead of shooting the messenger you should register your complaint with other media outlets that you trust. Why haven't they covered this story?
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post #5 of 11
God loves irony.

Iowa City has been refurbishing the Old Capitol building, which was, as its name implies, the original capitol building for the state of Iowa before real estate interests moved the capitol to Des Moines. Anyway, someone was busily removing the asbestos in the building's dome - which had just been replated with gold at eye-popping expense.

He was removing it with a blowtorch.

BOOM.

The Old Capitol no longer has a dome. It'll cost $2 million to replace.
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post #6 of 11
[quote]Originally posted by Amorph:
<strong>God loves irony.

Iowa City has been refurbishing the Old Capitol building, which was, as its name implies, the original capitol building for the state of Iowa before real estate interests moved the capitol to Des Moines. Anyway, someone was busily removing the asbestos in the building's dome - which had just been replated with gold at eye-popping expense.

He was removing it with a blowtorch.

BOOM.

The Old Capitol no longer has a dome. It'll cost $2 million to replace.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Heh, ironic to say the least. Those WTC architects (wait a minute...the original architect of the WTC is dead...?) didn't answer if two FULLY FUELED jetliners intending to blow up and burn intensely the WTC could do that kind of damage. Also if the WTC did have asbestos...NYC would have a serious health problem for years to come...

I had read some posts on a message board just after the WTC attack of architects discussing this matter and they said that the WTC towers were actually designed in a way that if there was intense heat within the center of the structure the building, as it was designed, would definately implode on itself...wish I had that URL now...
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post #7 of 11
[quote]Heh, ironic to say the least. Those WTC architects (wait a minute...the original architect of the WTC is dead...?) <hr></blockquote>

Minoru Yamasaki died in 1986.

Members of the team that worked with him are still alive.

[quote]didn't answer if two FULLY FUELED jetliners intending to blow up and burn intensely the WTC could do that kind of damage.<hr></blockquote>

Exactly.

The WTC was designed to withstand the impact of a jet. Not the fire. It was not something they really planned for, because the possibility was so remote. It would have been unrealistic to design the WTC to take the heat from 24,000 gallons of aviation fuel.

[quote]Also if the WTC did have asbestos...NYC would have a serious health problem for years to come...<hr></blockquote>

The cancer rate would be unbelieveable, and the cleanup a nightmare.

Asbestos might have bought the WTC some time. How much? Who knows? I can't do the calculations (If I could I would be studying architecture right now) But it would have collapsed anyway. There was no way to put out a fire like that. You can't use water on an aviation fuel fire. There is no way that I know of to deliver foam to the inside of a skyscraper.

The fact is, everyone above the blown-out floors was doomed the moment those planes hit. 4 hours would have not saved them (if the smoke hadn't gotten to them first).

There was no way to safely land on the roof. Guilianni ordered that no attempts be made to do so.

[quote]I had read some posts on a message board just after the WTC attack of architects discussing this matter and they said that the WTC towers were actually designed in a way that if there was intense heat within the center of the structure the building, as it was designed, would definately implode on itself...wish I had that URL now... <hr></blockquote>

I heard this as well.

The WTC towers were designed to contain the damage from a collapse as much as possible. Their unique design is the only reason they withstood the impact in the first place. A regular "honeycomb" structure would have gone down right away and the damage would have been directed outward.

25,000 people were evacuated thanks to Minoru Yamasaki's decison to forgo the normal way of building a skyscraper. He deserves some credit for that.
post #8 of 11
Not to mention the number of lives saved because the towers did fall more or less straight down, rather than toppling!

Yamasaki had a mortal fear of heights. That must have been the impetus behind his decision.
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post #9 of 11
The health risks of asbestos have been over stated for a long time. People have gotten rich on both ends of the racket. Both ends being lawyers and the people paid to remove it.

It's doubtful if asbestos would have done any better for the WTC. The fire insulation works is that you spec it for the # of hours you want of protection before failure. So for example if it's 4 hours you get for hours no matter what you use. 4 hours worth of asbestos may not be any better than 4 hours of any other fire insulation.
post #10 of 11
[quote]Originally posted by DoctorGonzo:
<strong>The cancer rate would be unbelieveable, and the cleanup a nightmare.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Would it? How do we know that? To which study to you refer to for this conclusion?
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by DoctorGonzo:
<strong>
The fact is, everyone above the blown-out floors was doomed the moment those planes hit. 4 hours would have not saved them (if the smoke hadn't gotten to them first).</strong><hr></blockquote>

Probably, but we don't know how many there were below those top floors that didn't get out. Another 3 hours would have made a world of difference.

[quote]<strong>25,000 people were evacuated thanks to Minoru Yamasaki's decison to forgo the normal way of building a skyscraper. He deserves some credit for that.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Agreed. I don't mean to imply anything different. The asbestos decision was not a design issue anyway and was a matter that was completely out of his hands.
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