In response to the strong interest in environmental contaminant data that emerged after the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, researchers and data managers at Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University collaborated to create the World Trade Center Environmental Contaminant Database (WTCECD). The database is comprised of data from the USEPA’s Aerometric Information Retrieval System (AIRS) dataset, as well as data from various federal, state and local agencies that collected New York City air quality data in direct response to the disaster.
Previous to the creation of the WTCECD, data from these various sources were publicly available, but were not easily accessible to interested individuals. They resided in physically separate locations, in a variety of unfamiliar formats that did not lend themselves to being easily searched. The primary purpose of the WTCECD was to simplify the process of acquiring air quality data collected both before and after September 11, 2001.