This is something that could prove worrying. I was at the WTC on September 28 2001, on a holiday I had planned before September 11. I was in the vicinity of the WTC, still smouldering, for quite a number of hours. Might be alarmist, but then asbesthos is a dangerous substance.
The smell was…hm…plasticy in a burning kind of way.
“This was a fully functional building that was completely smulched into a burning pit,” says Thomas Cahill, an atmospheric physicist at the University of California Davis, who has focused on the composition of the finest particles in the plume for the past two years.
“That’s never happened before, so we are in completely new territory. All we can say is we are worried about it,” he says. “It may take years before these effects show up, just like with radiation.”