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The poisonous legacy of 9/11

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PostPosted: 13-04-2006 09:21    Post subject: 9/11 Death Toll Could Rise? Reply with quote

Problems mount from 9/11 fallout

By David Shukman

BBC News science correspondent

The number of people with medical problems linked to the 9/11 attacks on New York has risen to at least 15,000.

The figure, put together for the BBC, counts those receiving treatment for problems related to breathing in dust.

Many of the victims say the government offered false reassurances that the Manhattan air was safe and are now pursuing a class-action lawsuit.

On Tuesday, a coroner said the death of a policeman who developed a respiratory disease was "directly linked" to 9/11.

James Zadroga - who worked at Ground Zero - died in January. The New Jersey coroner's ruling was the first of its kind.

Jeff Endean used to be the macho leader of a police Swat firearms team. Now, he has trouble breathing and survives on the cocktail of drugs he takes every day.

Kelly Colangelo, an IT specialist, used to have good health but now endures a range of problems including allergies and sinus pain.

"It worried me that I've been damaging my health just being in my home," she told the BBC News website. "It also worries me that I see the health impact on the [the emergency crews at the scene]. We were also exposed and I wonder if in 10-15 years from now, am I going to be another victim?"

Both are victims of what used to be called "World Trade Center cough", an innocuous sounding condition that many thought would pass once the dust that rose from the attacks of 9/11 had blown away.

But the medical problems have not merely intensified; the list of victims has grown alarmingly at the same time.

The apparent cause? The long line of contaminants carried by the dust into the lungs of many of those at, or near, the scene on that fateful day.

One list of sufferers has been compiled at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Its World Trade Center Screening Programme has 16,000 people on its books, of whom about half - 8,000 - require treatment.

A further 7,000 firefighters are recorded as having a wide range of medical problems, producing a total of 15,000. But the overall numbers affected could easily be far higher.

As the US government's newly appointed "health czar" John Howard confirmed to the BBC, there were between 30,000 and 50,000 people at or near Ground Zero who might have been exposed to the hazardous dust and no one really knows how many are suffering problems now.

Consisting of billions of microscopic particles, the dust was especially toxic because of its contents.

A grim list includes lead from 50,000 computers, asbestos from the twin towers' structures and dangerously high levels of alkalinity from the concrete.

Many of the people now suffering were sent to Ground Zero to help search for survivors. Others volunteered. Still more just happened to be living or working in the area.

The latter feel particularly aggrieved, even betrayed.

In the days following the attacks, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that monitoring operations had proved the "air was safe to breathe". And with that reassurance, the authorities reopened the globally important financial hub of Wall Street.

At the time it was seen as a critical morale-booster to a wounded nation.

Yet now the federal courts have allowed a class-action lawsuit to be filed against those very authorities.

Last month, a judge described the EPA's reassurances as "misleading" and "shocking the conscience". The legal process could last years.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/04/12 16:08:10 GMT

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PostPosted: 13-04-2006 20:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some more detail on one of the cases mentioned above, the class action is being fronted by a Congressman so it should carry weight.
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PostPosted: 26-05-2007 16:36    Post subject: Dust Victim Is Added to 9/11 Toll Reply with quote

Dust victim is added to 9/11 toll

A US woman has been added to the list of those killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, after dying from dust generated by the towers' collapse.

New York's chief medical examiner said he was certain the dust contributed to Felicia Dunn-Jones' death from a rare lung disease five months after 9/11.

The toxic cloud contained particles of asbestos, lead, glass, and cement.

The ruling that she was the tragedy's 2,750th victim may have implications in the cases of dozens of other deaths.

Hundreds more people, including those who have helped clean up Ground Zero, say they continue to suffer from respiratory problems because of breathing in the toxins.

Ms Dunn-Jones worked as a lawyer near the World Trade Center when suicide attackers crashed two hijacked airliners into the buildings.

After the towers collapsed, she ran through the thick clouds of dust which swept through Manhattan.

Ms Dunn-Jones developed a cough and had difficulty breathing four months later, and died on 10 February 2002.

An autopsy showed she died of sarcoidosis, a disease which produces microscopic lumps called granulomas on lungs and is often associated with exposure to environmental hazards.

In a letter made public on Wednesday, New York's chief medical examiner, Dr Charles Hirsch, said he was certain "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the dust "was contributory to her death".

Dr Hirsch said he would amend Ms Dunn-Jones's death certificate accordingly and change the manner of death from natural causes to homicide.

Her name will be added to the official list of victims from the attacks on New York.

The 9/11 death toll, not including the hijackers, also includes 184 killed when a plane flew into the Pentagon and 40 killed in a hijacked plane that crashed into the ground in Pennsylvania.

In another development, years of legal wrangling over the insurance claim for the World Trade Center has finally ended after insurers agreed to pay a total of $4.5bn dollars to rebuild Ground Zero.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/05/24 20:33:17 GMT

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PostPosted: 03-06-2007 16:55    Post subject: The poisonous legacy of 9/11 Reply with quote

I don't think this fits in with the existing threads; but if there is a home for it, then please move it.

The poisonous legacy of 9/11
Andrew Stephen

Published 04 June 2007

New Yorkers were told their air was safe to breathe after 9/11. It wasn't. As the city's first toxic dust-related death we report on the lies and the cover-up

I took the train to New York a few days ago - now definitely the only way to go, given the hellishness of travelling by plane in the US - and found Manhattan pulsating with life, as usual. My taxi driver careened through rush-hour traffic at the customary high speed and even managed to hit a man, who, miraculously, was not hurt. Restaurant workers were noisily picketing their workplaces, protesting at management for keeping large portions of the tips meant for them. The ever-widening gap between rich and poor was more evident than ever - 18,000 children aged five or under spend their nights in New York's homeless shelters, while the average yearly salary of a top hedge-fund manager, typically based in this city, has just been calculated at $363m.

Two fascinating facts emerged during my visit. The first was that the insurance companies have settled the last of the claims arising from the 11 September 2001 New York atrocities, clearing the way for thousands of workers to swarm into the 16-acre pit left by the World Trade Center to begin a $9bn rebuilding project.

The second could ultimately make the $4.55bn paid out by the likes of Swiss Re, Allianz Global Risks and Zurich American seem paltry. With a stroke of his pen, New York's chief medical examiner, Dr Charles Hirsch, certified that the death from sarcoidosis (a relatively rare lung condition) of 42-year-old Felicia Dunn-Jones in 2002 was "with certainty beyond a reasonable doubt" connected with dust she had breathed in as she ran from her office a block away from the twin towers on 11 September. Before my visit to New York, the death toll from the twin towers attacks stood at 2,749; when I left, it was 2,750, with the death of Dunn-Jones officially labelled a "homicide".

This was the first such formal classification of what the Bush administration might call "collateral damage" from the 11 September attacks. A New Jersey pathologist ruled that the death last year from pulmonary fibrosis of 34-year-old James Zadroga, a New York City police detective who had spent hundreds of hours combing through the carnage was, "with a reasonable degree of medical certainty . . . directly related to the 9/11 incident", but this finding has not been accepted by the city authorities.

So are we witnessing the first confirmed details emerging of the most serious of all of the 9/11 cover-ups by the Bush administration, which will make the 2,973 overall deaths seem a vast underestimate? Witnesses to 9/11 (who include my friend Conor O'Clery, the legendary Irish foreign correspondent now retired from the Irish Times, who tells me that he breathed in noxious substances for months afterwards) say that a Chernobyl-type cloud of dust and debris blew and settled not just over Manhattan, but as far afield as Brooklyn and even New Jersey, too.

Indeed, 700,000 people have added their names to a registry of those who believe they were exposed to toxic substances; the actual figure could be smaller, or it could run into millions - 10,000 of them so far have filed court claims. A Brooklyn study released last month found that cases of asthma there alone had increased 2.4 times since 11 September 2001. In the year following the attacks, firefighters developed sarcoidosis at five times the rate they had done so before; 26 firefighters who were working at Ground Zero within 72 hours of the attack sub sequently developed the disease, according to the findings of a study published last month in the medical journal Chest Physician.

The American College of Preventive Medicine, meanwhile, has expressed fears that deadly, malignant mesothelioma could develop in those exposed. Scores of rescue workers - 40 per cent of whom have no medical insurance - have already developed rare blood-cell cancers and thousands of firefighters have been treated for serious respiratory problems.

"The 9/11 health crisis is an emergency on a national scale, and it requires a federal response," says Carolyn Maloney, Democratic congresswoman from New York, who adds that citizens from all 50 states in the Union as well as foreigners are affected.

The scandal is that the Bush administration knew almost immediately of the dangers of the toxic New York air, but lied. The public could breathe free, secure in the knowledge that "it is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances", according to Christine Todd Whitman, the former New Jersey governor appointed by Bush to lead the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January 2001. Speaking seven days after the attacks, she said: "I am glad to reassure the people of New York . . . that their air is safe to breathe." The then mayor, Rudy Giuliani, chimed in to say that air quality was "safe and acceptable". Both Whitman and Giuliani, subsequent investigations suggest, were under pressure from the White House to provide these reassurances in order to keep Wall Street operating.

In the words of O'Clery, "we were systematically misled". Dr Cate Jenkins, a senior EPA scientist who has kept her job despite accusing Whitman and others of lying, says the EPA knew all along that the air hundreds of thousands were breathing was potentially as "caustic and corrosive as Drano", the best-known American drain declogger.

Dr Marjorie Clarke - an environmental scientist at the City University of New York - like-wise contradicted the Bush administration when she warned a Senate committee that, far from it being the case that the air in New York was safe to breathe, the attacks had "produced uncontrolled emissions equivalent to dozens of asbestos factories, incinerators and crematoria, as well as a volcano". These "created an unpre cedented quantity and combination of dozens of toxic and carcinogenic substances" and were "dispersed over a large area for several months", including parts of New Jersey. "US Geological Survey aerial maps in late September 2001," she found, "show asbestos contamination in Manhattan miles from the WTC."

The first 34 floors of the twin towers contained asbestos sprayed on to beams, floors and ceilings as fire retardants. More than 2,500 other contaminants were released into the air on 9/11, including fibreglass, mercury, cadmium, lead, dioxin, crystalline silicon and benzene - substances which, when breathed in, can cause not just cancer, but cardiac, kidney, liver and neurological diseases, besides pulmonary disorders such as asthma. The smaller the particles, the more dangerous they become; Clarke says they can be so microscopic that the natural coughing reflex fails to expel them, leaving them to accumulate on the lungs "for decades".

I have always expressed admiration for Giuliani's visible leadership on the streets of New York on 11 September (in contrast with that of Bush, who chose to stay aloft in Air Force One rather than return to DC to take command). But Giuliani's subsequent decisions, which restored his then-ailing mayoralty to the extent that he is now a front-runner for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, are more questionable. He adopted the galvanising and macho "we'll show 'em" attitude so much in vogue at the time, which resulted in the debris being cleared in nine months, rather than the 30 predicted - but, in doing so, cut corners in a way that may well have disastrous long-term consequences.

By late October that year, for example - long after hope for survivors had been lost and there was no need for frantic scrambling - his administration failed to enforce its ruling that all workers on the site wear face-mask respirators. Only 29 per cent were doing so.

Then Giuliani himself set a terrible example by visiting Ground Zero and not wearing one, in front of countless workers. The clear-up was so rushed that, still today, body parts are being found on rooftops and elsewhere.

The reclassification of the cause of Felicia Dunn-Jones's death is, therefore, of more than momentous symbolic significance. Politically, the Democratic wolves are already moving in for the kill: least surprisingly, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York is planning to haul Giuliani before a Senate committee to be questioned about his post-11 September decisions. Representative Jerry Nadler (also of New York) and 22 other congressmen and women are asking the Bush administration to divert $282m to be spent on immediate health care for those rescue workers most badly affected. Nadler "absolutely" plans to bring Giuliani before a House committee, too. "Who made decisions, if any, that resulted unnecessarily in a lot of people getting sick?" he asks rhetorically.

Giuliani's successor as mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, is another politician involved in the 9/11 aftermath who is considering a presidential bid. He has been trying to play down the Dunn-Jones ruling. "Think of it as though somebody had gotten - had a beam fall on them and it just took a little while for them to succumb to their injury," he stammered out in a lamentable attempt to explain, instead merely cornering his administration into an even more legally dangerous situation.

How many more?

Now that the insurance wrangles are over (the insurers had insisted that the 11 September attacks comprised one "incident", while the property developer, 75-year-old Larry Silverstein, who took out a $3.21bn, 99-year lease on the WTC site just seven weeks before the attacks, argued that they were two separate events), work will commence with furious haste at Ground Zero. Buildings doomed years ago, such as the Deutsche Bank, have yet to be de molished, but hundreds of workers have been labouring away at a new $2bn railway station and a brand-new 52-storey building, 7 World Trade Center, has been completed.

This means that armies of workers and engineers and architects will once again be converging on the possibly still-contaminated site, this time labouring to put up the flagship Freedom Tower and the other new buildings that will fill the void. Rock anchors (165 of them) have already been grouted 80 feet deep into 120 tonnes of bedrock.

Poor Dunn-Jones, a dynamic civil rights law yer who worked for the US education department, did not live to see these developments, because she literally suddenly stopped breathing in February 2002 after developing a cough. But, in a tacit acknowledgement of what had killed her, the US department of justice's victim compensation fund awarded her family $2.6m in damages. A spokeswoman for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation says that Dunn-Jones will be officially listed as a victim on the 9/11 memorial when it opens in 2009.

But how many more names will there be by then? And in the following decade, or two, or three? Conor O'Clery, who watched from his apartment two blocks away as people plunged to their deaths from the twin towers, says he still finds it hard sometimes to get the taste of that noxious white and grey-brown dust out of his mouth and nostrils, even though he now lives in the Irish countryside.

Most galling of all for the families of victims, and the survivors, is that the Bush adminis tration - as well as one of the two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination next year - did not tell the truth about their plight, when it was known all along that the air in New York was not fit to breathe.

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PostPosted: 22-08-2010 09:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've joined 2 Threads here, the earlier, '9/11 Death Toll, Could Rise' and 'Poisonous Legacy of 9/11'. P_M

In all the furore over the recent, 'Quite Close to Ground Zero, cookery school, health spa and mosque' controversy, this story seems to have been lost. It's seems to be an indication of how many politicians really feel about the the events of 9/11 and the fate of its victims.

Recently, the House Republicans in the US managed to defeat a '9/11 Responders Health Care Bill', that would have provided, 'almost $8 billion to first responders and relief workers now suffering chronic health problems due to their service on 9/11.'. Apparently, they stopped it because it would have been funded by closing a tax loophole that allowed big corporations to avoid paying taxes by banking profits offshore that had been earned in the US.

Stewart On Killing Of 9/11 Bill: 'I Give Up' (VIDEO)

Huffington Post | Katla McGlynn | 08- 5-10

Last night [4th August 2010] on "The Daily Show" Jon Stewart expressed more sadness and frustration than usual, airing a new segment simply titled "I Give Up." The subject of Stewart's aggravation was the killing of a health care bill by House Republicans that would provide almost $8 billion to first responders and relief workers now suffering chronic health problems due to their service on 9/11.

Stewart showed clips of Rep. Dave Camp (R) saying he would vote against the bill because it came with a "fundamentally flawed and job-destroying tax increase."

"Oh, I didn't know they were going to try to PAY for the bill?!" Stewart exclaimed. This led him to wonder what reprehensible tax was needed in order to help the heroic workers. Actually, the tax would prevent foreign multinational corporations from avoiding paying income tax on U.S.-earned money stored in offshore banks. To this, a shocked Stewart simply responded, "you fill my heart with sadness."

Stewart's spirits were further dampened when he learned that both Republicans and Democrats were to blame.

Even after Rep. Anthony Weiner made passionate (and loud) arguments for the bill, AND it received a hefty majority vote of 255 to 159, the bill was not passed. Why? Because Democrats used a procedure where you need a 2/3 vote to pass, which was done to prevent Republicans from attempting to amend the bill later and "embarrass them in an election year."

Stewart threw his head in his hands. "Did I mention that I give up?"


See also:

I also find it a bit depressing.
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PostPosted: 22-08-2010 12:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gads, Republicans are such tightwads. nonplus
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PostPosted: 22-08-2010 12:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Notice how the Democrats were also involved.
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PostPosted: 22-08-2010 13:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

hardly leaves much doubt about what we're doing in Afganistan when that's how much the 9/11 'victims' then and now matter to the politicians.
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PostPosted: 22-08-2010 15:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Xanatic_ wrote:
Notice how the Democrats were also involved.

Some sharp politicking there, I'm afraid.
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PostPosted: 23-08-2010 20:16    Post subject: Reply with quote


That last news story about the health care bill is bad news.

And I'm getting really pissed off that my stance on the Mosque in downtown NYC is pretty much grounds for getting yelled at.

(I believe it should be allowed to go through, I don't think it's the wisest or most sensitive decision for location, but it should be allowed to go through. Not all Muslims want to blow America up, and there are lots of Muslims that ARE American and died in the Trade Center attacks too. Argh. We are no where as the country we claim to be if we start inhibiting the rights of a particular religious population based on prejudice)
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PostPosted: 26-08-2010 22:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can picture the meeting now.
US Sir Humphrey explaining to his elected master.

"it would be morally wrong to oppose the bill. And would not look good when it came to your re-election. However, if one was applying ones time to another worthy project, such as Stop the Mosque, then one couldn't be blamed if one didn't have the time to devote to pushing the bill through. It's a matter of priorities Senator... ".
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