World Trade Center Remains Search Delayed by Asbestos Discovery

The search for human remains on the roof of the former Deutsche Bank building near the World Trade Center site has been suspended after asbestos was discovered there last week, officials said Thursday.

Mary Mears, a spokeswoman for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, said a visual inspection of the building's roof by her agency, the city Department of Environmental Protection and the state Department of Labor found that the area was "not properly cleaned. It seemed that material that was left in the area could potentially contain asbestos. ... We raised concerns" with the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

Mears said the LMDC did its own sampling and discovered that the dust particles did, in fact, contain asbestos.

She said the EPA and LMDC were working out a recleaning plan so "that it's done properly" and to make sure "workers have proper respiratory protection."

John Gallagher, a spokesman for the LMDC, which owns the building and is paying to tear it down, said that other work at the site would continue.

The 41-story building suffered severe damage during the Sept. 11 attacks when the trade center's south tower partially collapsed on it. Nearly 600 human bone fragments have been found at the skyscraper since workers began cleaning it last fall and preparing to dismantle it.