Ground Zero Workers


Continuing the EPA’s parade of incompetence, there is an article in the New York Times regarding Whitman’s testimony on the EPA’s response to the 9-11 clean up.  Whitman repeatedly denied the agency downplayed their findings regarding air quality around the attack site in the days following 9-11.  Whitman might still be in denial, but the proof is in the pudding.  There was ample evidence of dangerous environmental conditions around the site immediately after 9-11, particularly evidence on dangerous levels of dust in the air, including hazardous silica dust and asbestos dust.  Now there is medical proof of the dangers in the worker’s afflicted with World Trade Center dust disease (see previous posts). 

Two quotes from the story:

“She (Whitman) said that she was addressing residents of Lower Manhattan — not workers at ground zero — when she said a week after the attack that the air was safe to breathe”,  and

“(s)everal members of the subcommittee also pressed Ms. Whitman to acknowledge that exposure to the dust from the collapsed twin towers had made workers and residents sick. Ms. Whitman declined to do so, saying that the evidence linking the dust to disease was not conclusive.  She said she had not read clinical reports from the Mount Sinai World Trade Center Screening and Monitoring Program. A preliminary study released last year showed that 70 percent of the first 9,000 workers examined had reported developing some kind of respiratory problem after working on the debris pile.”

She could have come to the hearing and taken responsibility for what she did, but she chose not to.  What a shame.

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From a story in the New York Times: “The city medical examiner has now accepted what thousands of people with 9/11-related illnesses and their doctors have long understood: that ground zero dust was harmful and even deadly,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney.

Felicia Dunn-Jones’ death has been related to her dust exposure on 9/11.  She was exposed to the dust cloud from the collapse of the towers as she left her office a few blocks from the World Trade Center buildings.  After 9/11 she came down with a terrible cough and began experiencing respiratory problems.  She passed away 5 months after the attack on the World Trade Center.  An autopsy showed Mrs. Dunn-Jones’ death was caused by sarcoidosis, a disease associated with dust exposures.

Officials are gathering evidence that points to sarcoidosis or something very similar to sarcoidosis as the disease caused by the dust from the disaster.  Hopefully this first step will aid all of the others suffering from dust illnesses related to this disaster in their quest for justice. 

For the first time a study has linked lung disease found in 9-11 rescue workers to the dust from the World Trade Center buildings.  The rate of sarcoidosis in 9-11 rescuers after the World Trade Center disaster was 5 times higher than the rate of the disease in the 15 years before the disaster.  The disease can produce inflamation in the lungs which breeds lumps of cells called granulomas. 

So sarcoidosis has been identified as one of the diseases workers contracted from breathing Trade Center dust.  Hopefully there will be further studies to determine what other diseases these workers have contracted from the World Trade Center dust.

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