A study of a Baltimore building demolition found that airborne dust concentrations were especially high in the immediate vicinity and downwind of the demolition. Spectators should be discouraged from attending such events, or if they must attend, they should position themselves at an upwind, distant location.
In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers have filled a research gap and responded to community concerns about the impact of such events on community air quality. "The Impact of a Building Implosion on Airborne Particulate Matter in an Urban Community" is published in the October 2003 issue of the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association.
Lead investigator Tim Buckley, PhD, associate professor in the School of Public Health's Department of Environmental Health Sciences, said, "Building implosions have become common within the urban environment, yet we know little of the hazard posed to surrounding communities or spectators. With this study, we can begin to answer some of the fundamental questions asked by communities about the impact of such events on air quality."
The researchers studied the quality of air within a four-block radius immediately after the August 19, 2000, implosion of a 22-story building in east Baltimore, Md. Samples were taken at seven indoor locations and four outdoor sites. They found that immediately after the implosion, concentrations of airborne dust particles were as much as 3,000 times higher than they had been prior to the demolition.
As expected, sites nearest to the implosion had a more dramatic and earlier peak when compared to sites further away. Even at the furthest site, seven and one-half blocks from the implosion, there was a 20-fold increase in particulate matter. The good ne
Contact: Kenna Brigham
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health