Public Misled on Air Quality After 9/11 Attack, Judge SaysYou tell 'em Hill.
By JULIA PRESTON
Published: February 3, 2006
Christie Whitman, when she led the Environmental Protection Agency, made "misleading statements of safety" about the air quality near the World Trade Center in the days after the Sept. 11 attack and may have put the public in danger, a federal judge found yesterday.
The pointed criticism of Mrs. Whitman came in a ruling by the judge, Deborah A. Batts of Federal District Court in Manhattan, in a 2004 class action lawsuit on behalf of residents and schoolchildren from downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn who say they were exposed to air contamination inside buildings near the trade center.
The suit, against Mrs. Whitman, other former and current E.P.A. officials and the agency itself, charges that they failed to warn people of dangerous materials in the air and then failed to carry out an adequate cleanup. The plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages and want the judge to order a thorough cleaning.
In her ruling, Judge Batts decided not to dismiss the case against Mrs. Whitman, who is being sued both as former administrator of the E.P.A. and as an individual.
In a statement yesterday, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton called the E.P.A.'s conduct "outrageous."
"New Yorkers were depending on the federal government to provide them with accurate information about the air they were breathing," she said. "I continue to believe that the White House owes New Yorkers an explanation."
About 2,000 tons of asbestos and 424,000 tons of concrete were used to build the towers, and when they came crashing down they released dust laden with toxins. After an expert panel failed last year to settle on a method for organizing an E.P.A. cleanup, the agency said it would proceed anyway with limited testing and cleaning of apartments in downtown Manhattan below Canal Street.
Look, I breathed some of that crap in, not often (I live and work upwind of the site), but enough to know two things: 1) It was the second worst smelling shit I'd ever inhaled after a fat-rending plant was opened across the East River from the apartment I grew up in, and 2) There was a LOT more than flecks of burned flesh and concrete in those fumes. That fire burned for months (a side note to the crackpot conspiracy idiots who believe the buildings were collapsed: imploded buildings don't burn for months) and people daily breathed that crap in.
And we're starting to see the effects of that exposure:
WTC attacks claim latest victim _ four years laterJerry Nadler said it best:
By LARRY McSHANE
Associated Press Writer
January 28, 2006, 9:58 AM EST
NEW YORK -- For James Zadroga, dying was as simple as breathing.
The highly decorated New York police detective was heading home from work on Sept. 11, 2001, when the mind-numbing news came across his car radio: A plane had flown into the World Trade Center. He rushed back to lower Manhattan, where the twin 110-story towers had collapsed into a toxic pile of burning rubble.
Zadroga spent 470 hours sifting through the smoldering ruins.
Twelve-hour shifts, nearly 40 of them.
More than 28,000 minutes, his only protection a thin paper face mask.
Zadroga barely avoided death when 7 World Trade Center tumbled down around him hours after the planes hit. The escape was temporary: By the time he was finished at ground zero, Zadroga was as much a Sept. 11 victim as anyone lost in the tower stairwells _ although his suffering was time-released.
His breathing became labored within weeks, his health deteriorated over months, he was on disability in just over three years. On Jan. 5, 2006, the 34-year-old Zadroga finally succumbed, betrayed by his failing body; the World Trade Center had claimed its latest fatality.
Exhale, one last time.
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat whose district includes the trade center site, said the many people who worked at the site and developed respiratory diseases deserve answers.Imagine if these assholes had been honest. Imagine if the White House hadn't edited EPA releases to play down the health risks. Yes, people might have been panicked.
"It is my assumption that thousands of people -- workers and residents -- are being slowly poisoned today because these workplaces and residences were never properly cleaned up," Nadler said in a telephone interview.
But they would have taken steps to ensure their health, like wearing masks. This is criminal. This is murder.
Bush, New York, September 11, Whitman, EPA