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Identifying World Trade Center Dust in Buildings

  • Challenge: After the WTC collapse, our client, an insurance company, disputed a claim by a building owner that it was necessary to remove the inner walls of the building due to impacts from WTC dust.  Cardno ChemRisk was asked to review the dust sampling data that was collected from the building prior to the renovation, to assess the potential risks associated with exposure to the dust within the inner walls, and to develop a method for determining if the dust was WTC related.
  • Approach: Using standard multivariate statistical methods, Cardno ChemRisk scientists identified a WTC dust chemical fingerprint based on metal concentrations in bulk dust and used a combination of principal components analysis and discriminant analysis to determine if the fingerprint was present in bulk dust from the interior wall cavities of the building prior to the renovation.
  • Findings: Cardno ChemRisk found that the WTC dust fingerprint was not present in the interior wall cavities prior to the renovation of the building.  This analysis was presented on behalf of the insurance company during the mediation of the dispute and was a key factor in the mediation decision.
  • Value: The results of this analysis resulted in a mediation decision favorable to the client and saved them several million dollars.

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