Paul James Lioy, environmental scientist and author of Dust: The Inside Story of Its Role in the September 11th Aftermath received two lifetime achievement awards, according to CNN.
Sixty-eight year-old Environmental scientist Paul James Lioy of Cranford, New Jersey, died on Wednesday after collapsing at Newark Liberty International Airport, CNN reports.
His wife, Jean Lioy, told the New York Times that the cause of death has not been determined.
At the time of his death, he was a professor of environmental and occupational health of the Rutgers University School of Public Health, in Piscataway, N.J., as well as the department’s deputy director for government relations.
Lioy was one of the first scientists to gather dust samples at ground zero; the New York Times reported "that he and his colleagues simply scooped it from the windshields of nearby cars and secured it in Teflon bags."
In 2005, Dr. Lioy said the dust “had a weird texture and color to it.”
The samples were dispatched for laboratory analysis. The results indicated the presence of elements that included:
- jet-fuel components
- cellulose from paper and cotton
- particles of wood, plastic, glass, asbestos and concrete
- and organic matter that Dr. Lioy, with circumspection and great tenderness, described as containing “everything we hold dear.”
Once firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and survivors started experiencing what was once referred to as "The World Trade Center Cough," Dr. Lioy's findings proved there was reason to be concerned.
According to Dr. Lioy, three things caused the cough:
“First, cement dust was very alkaline — the pH was above 10,” he told the New York Times. “That irritated the linings of the lungs. Second, glass fibers got stuck in people’s upper airways, like wooden logs in a narrow stream. That trapped the cement particles and enhanced the irritation. And there were very coarse particles that comprised the vast quantity of the dust mass.”
Over the years, Dr. Lioy's other work included research on oil spills, ozone pollution, and household pesticides, the New York Times reports.
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