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01-07-2006, 02:47 PM


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January 7, 2006 -- A police detective has died from lung disease, which the NYPD believes he contracted while working at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks.

The tragedy makes James Zadroga, 34, the first rescue worker to die from illness attributed to the Ground Zero rubble, a police spokesperson said yesterday.

The Manhattan homicide detective retired in 2004 because of his disability. He died at his family's Jersey home yesterday.

"He was a hero, he disregarded his own health and life to rescue people at Ground Zero," said Michael Palladino, head of the Detectives' Endowment Association.

Zadroga, whose wife died two years ago from cancer at age 29, was in 7 World Trade Center when it started to collapse. He spent another 470 hours in the soot-filled wreckage.

One month after he returned to the Manhattan South precinct, Zadroga fell ill. Within two years, he developed "black lung disease," police said.

01-07-2006, 04:53 PM
This is a horrible shame. It literally brings tears to my eyes. We all remember watching these people on our television sets working tirelessly to find survivors. How dare the media ignore a story like this?

I wonder if the media's silence has anything to do with the fact that the EPA and the Bush Administration have a history of manipulating information about the environment to suit policy needs.

In February 2005 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7004259/), "Speakers at the national meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science expressed concern Sunday that some scientists in key federal agencies are being ignored or even pressured to change study conclusions that don't support policy positions." Their concerns are well-founded. In June 2005, The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/07/science/07cnd-climate.html?ei=5088&en=e2d2e276e037108a&ex=1275796800&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=print) reported that Philip A. Cooney, "removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved" so as to play down emissions' links to Global Warming. Mr. Cooney served as chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Now, however, he serves Exxon (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/15/politics/15climate.html?ei=5088&en=67b33dee3081e39a&ex=1276488000&adxnnl=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=print&adxnnlx=1136661423-wImGiY7d4LkMDNgAmHYdbw).

In July 2005, the EPA purposefully held back incriminating reports (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/28/business/28fuel.html?ei=5065&en=e782c053a94be35e&ex=1123128000&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print) about our fuel economy so an Energy Bill that served not the people, but the corporations, would pass. As quoted by CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/07/28/politics/main712448.shtml), the energy bill "sends billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to energy companies, but is expected to do little to reduce U.S. oil consumption or dampen high energy prices." The EPA's report stated, "loopholes in American fuel economy regulations have allowed automakers to produce cars and trucks that are significantly less fuel-efficient, on average than they were in the late 1980's." No wonder they didn't want it to be known. We've done nothing to become more fuel-efficient, and in fact, have gone backwards. Now, as a result, we've passed an energy bill that helps us not at all.

In August 2003, CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/08/09/national/main567489.shtml) reported that "White House officials pressured the agency to prematurely assure the public that the air was safe to breathe a week after the World Trade Center collapse". Why would they do such a thing? Now, as a result, 9/11 firefighters (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5959) are suffering from long-term lung damage, and now, sadly, a 9/11 Hero has died.

Unfortunately, the deceit does not end with 9/11. Hugh Kaufmann (http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/05/09/con05330.html), a Senior Policy Analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, said that in regards to Katrina, "that a government cover-up is taking place right now, as we speak, to hide information about the dangerous toxins in the flood waters of the Gulf Coast region." Hugh Kaufmann was also the chief investigator for the 9/11 clean-up. He says, "that the Bush administration engaged in the same practice after 9/11—covering up the truth about the dangers in the air and water and lying to the public in the weeks after the disaster."

The sad thing is, there are people within our Government who are aware (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5275) of what's going on with the EPA and the Bush Administration, and have done little to nothing about it. In October 2005, the Associated Press reported that "The Bush administration was accused Thursday by senators in both parties of minimizing health hazards from the toxic soup left by Hurricane Katrina, just as they said it did with air pollution in New York from the Sept. 11 attacks." In December 2005, the Associated Press also reported Congress Researchers (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6763), "say the Environmental Protection Agency skewed its analysis of air pollution legislation to favor President Bush's plan". Hillary Clinton and Jerrold Nadler of New York , "had criticized past EPA testing efforts and demanded more thorough scientific work.", and now as a result, the Environmental Protection Agency has developed a new, "plan for testing any dust that may remain in private homes and commercial space from the collapse of the World Trade Center more than four years ago." Lawmakers even addressed it as being "too little, too late", and I'm sure Hillary is thinking about 2006, and possibly 2008 (Heaven forbid).

It's a damn shame the media isn't covering the death of a 9/11 Hero. Maybe it would open up people's minds to what's going on. I guess that's not what the "Powers That Be" want.

01-07-2006, 05:09 PM
He may be a hero, but there are many heroes out there that saw/heard/felt explosions that day who are not speaking up. That makes them accessories after the fact.

New York Terrorism Hotline: 1-866-Safe-NYS

Speak up if you see any suspicious activities, such as fixing elections, fixing the facts to justify war in Iraq, flying planes into and demolishing buildings in New York, etc.

01-07-2006, 05:09 PM
Well... this hero died. Today is his day. ;)

01-07-2006, 09:26 PM
"was in 7 World Trade Center when it started to collapse"

"when Mr. Silverstein was recounting these events for a television documentary he stated, “I said, you know, we've had such terrible loss of life. Maybe the smartest thing to do is to pull it.” Mr. McQuillan has stated that by “it,” Mr. Silverstein meant the contingent of firefighters remaining in the building."

How could she be in WTC7 when it collapsed if Silverstein "pulled" everyone out?

01-09-2006, 04:37 PM

01-09-2006, 08:12 PM
Here's an interview with Hugh Kaufmann... I don't know with who...


01-11-2006, 09:54 AM
Goodbye to dad poisoned by 9/11



Motorcycle cops salute as hearse carrying Zadroga’s body passes yesterday on its way to Holy Cross Cemetery in Arlington, N.J.

As bugler plays taps, NYPD Detective James Zadroga's coffin is carried from Queen of Peace Catholic Church in North Arlington, N.J.

Tragedy had taken the 4-year-old girl's parents from her, first her mother two years ago, and now her father.

As Tylerann Zadroga sat for another funeral yesterday, loved ones reassured her that her dad, former NYPD Detective James Zadroga, died a hero - poisoned as he helped clean up the burning ruins of the World Trade Center.

"My granddaughter has accepted the fact her dad died," said the detective's father, Joseph Zadroga, a retired North Arlington, N.J., police chief. "We told her he died a hero."

While an autopsy is still pending on 34-year-old Zadroga's official cause of death, the NYPD did award him a tax-free disability pension of three-quarters pay in July 2004. Zadroga's mother, Linda Zadroga, said her son, who developed the infamous World Trade Center cough, was diagnosed by doctors as having black lung disease.

Zadroga, who logged nearly 500 hours during the recovery effort at Ground Zero, died last Thursday.

After the service at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in North Arlington, Zadroga's parents said his death should serve as a wakeup call to first responders who toiled along the smoky pile of death and destruction.

"My son had a gallium scan and it showed he had glass and people's bones in his lungs," said his heartbroken mother.

She urged recovery workers to get a gallium scan, an exhaustive test that uses a special camera to take pictures of specific tissues in the body.

"We want to help these other people," she added.

Zadroga's wife, Ronda, 29, died two years ago from a stress-related illness, said family members.

Tylerann is being raised by James Zadroga's parents, who now live in Little Egg Harbor, N.J.

Mike Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, said Zadroga's death is the first post-9/11 death of a city worker who was exposed to the hazardous material at Ground Zero.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which urged workers to use respirators at Ground Zero, did find elevated levels of pollutants on the pile at Ground Zero, as fires burned for months after the 9/11 attacks.

01-11-2006, 09:56 AM
"The Environmental Protection Agency, which urged workers to use respirators at Ground Zero, did find elevated levels of pollutants on the pile at Ground Zero, as fires burned for months after the 9/11 attacks."

By saying the air was ok to breathe, how is that urging workers to use respirators?

01-14-2006, 06:11 PM
Growing Concern About Respiratory Disease from 9/11


Jan 13, 2006 4:19 pm US/Eastern

(1010 WINS) (NEW YORK) Three men who responded to the World Trade Center on September 11th have died over the last seven months of what their families and colleagues say are respiratory illnesses directly caused by their work at ground zero.

Robin Herbert, who directs a medical-monitoring program at Mount Sinai Medical Center for more than 14,000 ground zero workers, said it's not inconceivable that a person could die of respiratory disease related to September 11th.

Police Officer James Zadroga spent 16 hours a day toiling in the World Trade Center ruins for a month, breathing in the toxic air. Emergency Medical Technician Timothy Keller said he coughed up bits of gravel from his lungs after the towers fell. And EMT Felix Hernandez spent days at the site searching for victims.

Donald Faeth, an emergency medical technician and union officer, says he thinks that several rescue workers "died that day and didn't realize that they died that day.''

He added that both Keller and Hernandez, each with a decade on the job, were nonsmokers and had no previous health problems before September 11th.

Doctors running different health screening programs say it will take decades to get a clear picture of the long-term health effects of working at ground zero.

The city department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which is tracking the health of 71,000 people exposed to September 11th dust and debris, said it's too soon to say whether any deaths among its enrolled members are linked to trade center exposure.

David Worby, an attorney representing more than 5-thousand people who are suing those who supervised the 9/11 cleanup over their illnesses, said 21 of his clients have died of September 11th-related diseases since the middle of 2004.

He's not authorized to release their names, but said he represented people who toiled at ground zero, at the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island where trade center debris was moved, and at the city morgue.

Worby called it "just the tip of the iceberg.'' He predicted that "many, many more people are going to die from the aftermath of the toxicity.''

Congressman Jerry Nadler, whose district includes the trade center site, blames some of the illnesses on the failure to provide some workers with proper masks or respiratory protection. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found in 2004 that only one in five workers wore respirators to block out the dust laced with asbestos, glass fibers, pulverized cement and other chemicals.

Nadler said all the people exposed should be monitored for life.

01-17-2006, 04:37 PM
9/11 workers die after respiratory illnesses
Links to 'Ground Zero' exposure unknown


(Gold9472: 10 days late, and full of lies.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006; Posted: 2:58 p.m. EST (19:58 GMT)

NEW YORK (AP) -- James Zadroga spent 16 hours a day toiling in the World Trade Center ruins for a month, breathing in debris-choked air. Timothy Keller said he coughed up bits of gravel from his lungs after the towers fell on September 11, 2001. Felix Hernandez spent days at the site helping to search for victims.

All three men died in the past seven months of what their families and colleagues say were persistent respiratory illnesses directly caused by their work at Ground Zero.

While thousands of people who either worked at or lived near the site have reported ailments such as "trade center cough" since the terrorist attacks, some say that only now are the consequences of working at the site becoming heartbreakingly clear.

"I'm very fearful," said Donald Faeth, an emergency medical technician and officer in a union with two of the ground zero workers who died last year. "I think that there are several people who died that day and didn't realize that they died that day."

Some officials say it is too early to draw that conclusion. Doctors running different health screening programs say it will take decades to get a clear picture of the long-term health effects of working at ground zero.

The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which is tracking the health of 71,000 people exposed to September 11 dust and debris, said last week that it is too soon to say whether any deaths or illnesses among its enrolled members are linked to trade center exposure.

But Robin Herbert, who directs a medical-monitoring program at Mount Sinai Medical Center for more than 14,000 ground zero workers, said "certainly it is not inconceivable" that a person could die of respiratory disease related to September 11.

Karin DeShore said she does not need scientists to tell her what caused the death of her friend Keller, 41. DeShore was a Fire Department captain who took Keller to the trade center on September 11, and barely escaped the south tower's collapse.

"He came back coughing" two days later, she said. Faeth said that Keller told him that he coughed up debris so violently he could barely breathe on September 11, and later developed emphysema.

Keller went home to Levittown on medical leave in March. He died on June 23 of heart disease complicated by bronchitis and emphysema, the Nassau County medical examiner's office said.

Felix Hernandez, 31, worked on rescue and recovery work at ground zero following the attacks, said his former supervisor, Lt. Regina Pellegrino. In 2002, "it started with a cold he couldn't shake ... and it kept getting worse and worse and worse," she said.

Hernandez was diagnosed with various respiratory diseases and was told by doctors at one point that he may have cystic fibrosis, Pellegrino said. He left the job in 2004 when he became too weak to climb stairs, and died October 23 of respiratory ailments in Florida, said colleagues who spoke with his family.

Both Keller and Hernandez, each with a decade on the job, were nonsmokers and had no previous health problems before September 11, Faeth said.

Zadroga, a 34-year-old New York detective, logged 470 hours at the site in 2001, including September 11, and died January 5. Family members and co-workers said he had contracted black lung disease and had high levels of mercury in his brain. Autopsy results have not been released. (Full story)

David Worby, an attorney representing more than 5,000 plaintiffs suing those who supervised the cleanup over their illnesses, said 21 of his clients have died of September 11-related diseases since mid-2004. He said he was not authorized to release their names, but represented people who toiled at ground zero, at the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island where trade center debris was moved, and at the city morgue.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," Worby said. "Many, many more people are going to die from the aftermath of the toxicity."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, whose congressional district includes the trade center site, blames some of the illnesses on the failure to provide some workers with proper masks or respiratory protection. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found in 2004 that one in five workers wore respirators while they worked at the site to block out dust laced with asbestos, glass fibers, pulverized cement and other substances.

"All the people exposed should be monitored for life so that we know what happened," Nadler said.

01-17-2006, 04:37 PM
"Some officials say it is too early to draw that conclusion. Doctors running different health screening programs say it will take decades to get a clear picture of the long-term health effects of working at ground zero."

What a fucking lie.

03-18-2006, 01:06 PM
Emergency Responder Dies From 9/11-Related Illness


March 17, 2006

A Bronx EMT died Wednesday, becoming the third emergency responder to die from a 9/11-related illness in the last year.

Retired paramedic Deborah Reeve, 41, suffered from mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer typically associated with asbestos exposure. Reeve worked down at the World Trade Center site for several weeks following the terrorist attacks.

The cancer left the mother of two from the Bronx emaciated and unable to walk. Her husband David, also a paramedic, says his wife worked at the World Trade Center site morgue for a couple of days after the attacks.

Her doctor says exposure to carcinogens and asbestos is what led to her illness.

Fire Commissioner Nicolas Scoppetta labeled the death as an administrative line of duty death and has offered to pay up to $25,000 for her funeral.

A viewing is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday with the funeral on Monday.

03-19-2006, 07:04 PM
Another Hero has fallen.

03-19-2006, 07:07 PM

See what you have done to the TRUE hero's of 9-11.


03-19-2006, 07:26 PM
The EPA were the ones who said everything was ok, and to go about life as if nothing happened.

They are scumbags, and these heroes who keep dying are dying because of what they did.

The people involved in that coverup should be convicted in a court of law, and given the MAXIMUM penalty.

However, we all know who is to blame for what caused the environmental disaster.


03-19-2006, 11:43 PM
The EPA were the ones who said everything was ok, and to go about life as if nothing happened.

They are scumbags, and these heroes who keep dying are dying because of what they did.

The people involved in that coverup should be convicted in a court of law, and given the MAXIMUM penalty.

However, we all know who is to blame for what caused the environmental disaster.


Could not have said it better. Thanks Jon.

04-08-2006, 01:27 AM
Study: 9/11 Escapees Have Health Problems


By AMY WESTFELDT, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - A majority of survivors of the 2001 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center suffered from respiratory ailments and depression, anxiety and other psychological problems up to three years later, federal health officials said Friday.

The people who escaped from collapsed or damaged buildings on Sept. 11, 2001, were several times as likely to suffer from breathing problems or psychological trauma if they were caught in the cloud of trade center dust and debris that covered lower Manhattan, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"The trauma of being caught in the cloud itself, the whole experience had an impact on their ... psychological health later on," said Dr. Robert M. Brackbill, a CDC doctor working with the World Trade Center Health Registry, which has been tracking the health of more than 71,000 people who worked at ground zero or were in the area on Sept. 11.

Friday's study drew from preliminary interviews with 8,418 adults in the registry who escaped from the twin towers, the collapsed Seven World Trade Center and more than 30 buildings that suffered extensive damage on Sept. 11. More than 70 percent escaped from the twin towers.

The interviews took place more than two years after the attacks, between Sept. 5, 2003, and Nov. 20, 2004, and did not involve medical examinations. Follow-up surveys are planned this month.

"We are just beginning to learn about the health effects of the worst day in New York City's history," said Daniel Slippen, a survivor of the attacks and a member of the registry's community advisory board. "It is critical to know whether these physical and mental effects will continue, diminish or grow worse over time."

City officials in charge of the registry say it will likely take 20 years or more to determine whether 9/11 exposure led to increased cancer deaths or illnesses among survivors.

The study said more than six in 10 were caught in the clouds of trade center dust that enveloped the area. Those people were nearly three times as likely to have respiratory problems, 40 percent more likely to experience severe psychological problems and five times more likely to report suffering a stroke, Brackbill said.

More than 56 percent of the survivors said they had new or worsening respiratory ailments, including sinus problems, shortness of breath and a persistent cough. More than 43 percent sustained a physical injury on Sept. 11; the most common were eye injuries.

Almost all of the people studied witnessed at least three events likely to cause psychological trauma, such as the collapse of the towers, the deaths or injuries of others or people jumping from the twin towers, the study said.

More than 64 percent of the survivors said they were depressed, anxious or had other emotional problems, and nearly 11 percent were in severe psychological distress at the time of their interview, the study said.

04-09-2006, 12:40 PM



April 9, 2006 -- Sky-high toxic levels of potentially deadly asbestos still cling to the fibers of this ordinary white dress shirt - worn by a 9/11 volunteer for two days at Ground Zero, a shocking analysis sought by The Post reveals.

Community liaison Yehuda Kaploun volunteered at Ground Zero for 48 hours immediately after the attack, wearing the shirt as he watched good friend and beloved Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge die in a building collapse.

The volunteer kept his contaminated shirt packed in a sealed plastic bag until last week, when The Post sent the garment to RJ Lee Group laboratories for testing.

Analyzed portions of his shirt collar reveal a chilling concentration of chrysotile asbestos - 93,000 times higher than the average typically found in the environment in U.S. cities. That appears to be even higher than what the EPA said was found in the most contaminated, blown-out building after 9/11.

While there appear to be no specific regulations for asbestos levels on clothing, one lawyer for relief workers called the sickly shirt's amount "astronomically toxic."

It's the "high end of surface concentrations that you would find anywhere," added Chuck Kraisinger, a senior scientist for RJ Lee.

Testing also revealed the shirt was contaminated with zinc, mercury, antimony, barium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead and molybdenum. Tons of the heavy metals were pulverized and burned in the debris in fires that raged for four months.

The test results are especially frightening in light of last week's report by the Centers for Disease Control that 62 percent of those caught in the massive dust cloud suffered respiratory problems. Also, 46 percent of civilians living or working in the immediate area but not caught in the cloud still experienced respiratory problems - and 57 percent reported new and worsening respiratory symptoms.

Making matters worse, Dr. Mark Rosen, chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Beth Israel Hospital, said that because it can take decades for asbestos cancers to develop, "We just won't know the effect [of Ground Zero exposure] for years."

About 400,000 tons of asbestos were released in the World Trade Center collapse. David Worby, a lawyer for 7,300 rescue and recovery workers who inhaled the smoke and dust at Ground Zero for months, called the area "the worst toxic site ever.

"It's mind-boggling the poisons they made these people work through," Worby said. "The amount of dioxins there make Vietnam look like a kindergarten."

"It is an urgent situation. If the government does not act . . . in terms of setting up [widespread] medical testing . . . more people over the next few years will die of toxic diseases than died on 9/11."

According to the Mesothelioma Resource Center, "Asbestos becomes dangerous when it breaks into pieces small enough to enter deep into the lungs. The longer period of time that a person is exposed to asbestos fibers, the higher the risk of developing lung disease later in life."

The most common types of diseases caused by asbestos exposure, according to the center, are mesothelioma, either benign or malignant, cancer and asbestosis.

On 9/11, Kaploun was a 35-year-old liaison between the Police and Fire departments and the Orthodox Jewish community, as well as a part-time Hatzolah Ambulance volunteer. He said he doesn't really know why he tucked the shirt away two days after the terror attacks.

"But something told me that it was loaded with stuff - and it goes to show you how very wrong these people were whom we trusted," he said.

"I remember coming home, and you know what, I was going to give the shirt to the cleaners, and then somehow, for some reason, I didn't.

"But if my shirt and I can do something to help these people who were there for weeks and months on end - and if this is the kind of numbers needed that will help and support their cases - then that's the blessing."

He said he is "somewhat" concerned about his own health in the future.

"But so far, thank God, everything is good," he said. "I've been checked and I check out OK - but I only hope the government will do the right thing for all the people who were there for an extended period of time.

"I was with government officials and we saw thousands of people covered in this soot, and while we were assured that preliminarily there was no danger, obviously this is not the case."

Kaploun was there the first day of the attacks with Judge, who perished in the collapse in front of Kaploun's eyes.

"Father Judge always said to me, the son of a rabbi, 'When you're a member of the clergy you have to have an easy smile.' And he always did. He was a good man."

Although Kaploun may have saved his shirt in honor of the heroic efforts he saw that day, he hopes it may ultimately turn out to be the very thing that will help other 9/11 volunteers get help for illnesses they develop in the future.

04-09-2006, 09:17 PM
9/11 First Responders With Cancer Sue City


April 09, 2006

A group of first responders say their brain illness is linked to toxic air and dust from 9/11.

A lawyer for several of those affected says the group is seeking immediate action by the city along with monetary damages. Dozens of people, including six NYPD officers, developed brain cancer after September 11th. Many are blaming the illness on their rescue and recovery work at the Trade Center site.

Their attorney claims that out of the 7,300 sick workers and family members involved in the case, 41 have now died.

The city's lawyers say they will not comment on the case, because they have not yet seen the lawsuit.

04-12-2006, 09:19 AM
9/11 rescue work blamed for cop's death


By Amy Westfeldt
April 12 2006 at 10:16AM

New York - The death of a 34-year-old police detective who developed respiratory disease after working at ground zero is "directly related" to September 11, 2001, a New Jersey coroner said in the first known ruling positively linking a death to recovery work at the World Trade Centre site.

James Zadroga's family and union released his autopsy results on Tuesday, saying they were proof of the first death of a city police officer related to cleanup work at ground zero after the terrorist attacks.

"It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident," wrote Gerard Breton, a pathologist at the Ocean County (New Jersey) medical examiner's office in the February 28 autopsy.

A class action lawsuit and families of ground zero workers have alleged that more than two dozen deaths are related to exposure to Trade Centre dust, which doctors believe contained a number of toxic chemicals including asbestos.

Zadroga, of Little Egg Harbor, NJ, died in January of respiratory failure and had inflammation in his lung tissue due to "a history of exposure to toxic fumes and dust," Breton wrote.

The detective spent 470 hours after the attacks sifting through the twin towers' smouldering ruins, wearing a paper mask for protection. His breathing became laboured within weeks, he developed a cough and he had to use an oxygen tank to breathe. He retired on disability in November 2004.

The coroner found material "consistent with dust" in Zadroga's lungs and damage to his liver and said his heart and spleen were enlarged.

Zadroga's parents and four-year-old daughter appeared at a news conference with half a dozen other detectives who said they have suffered from cancer, strokes, lung disease and other ailments because of post-September 11 work at the Trade Centre site.

"They all knew it was detrimental to their health," said Joseph Zadroga, James Zadroga's father. "They all knew that, yet they stayed there."

Doctors running health screening programmes, including a city registry following more than 71 000 people, say it will take decades to truly assess the health effects of working at the trade centre site.

A spokesperson for the registry did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Tuesday.

04-12-2006, 02:21 PM
"The Environmental Protection Agency, which urged workers to use respirators at Ground Zero, did find elevated levels of pollutants on the pile at Ground Zero, as fires burned for months after the 9/11 attacks."

By saying the air was ok to breathe, how is that urging workers to use respirators?
I work with concrete and you see that all the time, no one tells the guys the dust is poisonous, especially to guys like sandblasters they drop like flies and still the push for awareness and to wear safety equipment in not there.

I imagine the dust would have been worse at the trade towers both silica and melted plastics and such.

I think also the rush to save lives and to do it quickly might have played a factor in why no respirators were being worn.

04-12-2006, 03:22 PM
I work with concrete and you see that all the time, no one tells the guys the dust is poisonous, especially to guys like sandblasters they drop like flies and still the push for awareness and to wear safety equipment in not there.

I imagine the dust would have been worse at the trade towers both silica and melted plastics and such.

I think also the rush to save lives and to do it quickly might have played a factor in why no respirators were being worn.

You don't get it. Not only did they not tell them to use respirators, they told them the air was ok to breathe.

04-12-2006, 03:36 PM
Yep, everyone was told the air was safe to breathe. They even told people living in surrounding apartments to simply wipe up the dust with a damp cloth like any other dirt.

That dust was laden with asbestos, bad idea.

04-13-2006, 09:08 AM
Problems mount from 9/11 fallout


By David Shukman

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.

WTC 'cough'
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.

'Real' figure
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.

Long time
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.

A special report on the dust fallout from the 9/11 attacks will be featured on BBC World starting on Wednesday 3 May at 1930 GMT. The documentary will also be carried on BBC News 24.

04-13-2006, 02:32 PM
You don't get it. Not only did they not tell them to use respirators, they told them the air was ok to breathe.That’s even more fucked up, concrete dust alone is toxic, not to mention the asbestos.

Good way to cut down the number of witnesses?

04-13-2006, 10:33 PM
With 9/11 Dust Officially Labeled a Killer, Debate Revives


Published: April 14, 2006

In the cold, clinical language of the autopsy report of a retired New York City detective that was released this week, there were words that thousands of New Yorkers have come to anticipate and to fear.

"It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident," stated the report from the medical examiner's office in Ocean County, N.J.

That "reasonable degree of medical certainty" — coroner language for "as sure as I can be" — provides the first official link made by a medical expert between the hazardous air at ground zero after the trade center collapse and the death of someone who worked in the rescue effort.

The report has reopened old wounds, giving lawsuits brought by first responders and downtown residents new evidence to back up allegations that the toxic mixture of dust and fumes at ground zero was deadly.

The report has also reignited a fierce debate over whether to classify deaths like that of Detective James Zadroga, 34 — who died on Jan. 5 of respiratory failure at his parents' New Jersey home — as being "in the line of duty," making survivors eligible for more benefits.

Dr. Robin Herbert, who has screened thousands of first responders through the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program, called Detective Zadroga's autopsy report a "sentinel event" and a warning sign.

"It should be taken very seriously and investigated with great vigor," Dr. Herbert said.

But while acknowledging that those exposed to the dust may develop fatal diseases, many medical experts who have tracked the health effects of the trade center collapse have been reluctant to cross the line in between probability and certainty.

The autopsy report went further than any other medical document to link a death to the dust, but it by no means provides conclusive proof of the dust's general toxicity and its impact on other workers at the site. That, experts generally agree, may take 20 years to play out, depending on the latency period for many cancers and other diseases that could be linked to exposure to the toxic materials.

Proving the cause of a disease, even when the cause may seem obvious, is extremely difficult. Dr. Michael M. Baden, former chief medical examiner of New York and a forensics expert, said the phrase "reasonable degree of certainty" is the standard term used in court to mean that given the available information, "it's very likely that that opinion is correct."

That said, Dr. Baden noted that given the impact of such a finding, he would have expected the medical examiner's office to consult with doctors who had tested or treated other first responders before coming to such a conclusion. Other experts said that tests should have been done on the particles found in Detective Zadroga's lungs to compare them with the contents of the dust from the trade center site.

Neither step was taken. The autopsy was performed by Dr. Gerard Breton, a 73-year-old retired pathologist who has been on contract to the medical examiner's office in Ocean County for a decade.

Dr. Breton said in a telephone interview yesterday that he did not attempt to classify the "innumerable foreign body granulomas" containing "unidentified foreign materials" in Detective Zadroga's lungs.

He also did not consult any doctors besides the detective's physician, who he said had informed him of Detective Zadroga's work at ground zero.

Nonetheless, Dr. Breton said what he found was unmistakable.

"I cannot personally understand that anyone could see what I saw in the lungs, and know that the person was exposed to ground zero, and not make the same link I made," said Dr. Breton, who graduated from the University of Haiti in 1960 and did his residency at St. Peter's Medical Center in New Brunswick.

Detective Zadroga, who joined the New York Police Department in 1992, did not smoke and had no known history of asthma. His family has long believed that the 450 grueling hours that the highly decorated officer spent working on recovery efforts at ground zero in 2001 had filled his lungs with fiberglass, pulverized concrete and a toxic brew of chemicals that fatally scarred his lungs, leading to his death at the age of 34.

Joseph Zadroga, Detective Zadroga's father, said his son and other officers who had worked at the trade center site knew the air they were breathing probably would cause health problems down the road. "You had to be a fool not to realize that," he said on Tuesday at a news conference in Manhattan.

Detective Zadroga's colleagues in the police department have argued that hundreds of officers and detectives who were also exposed to the dust cloud will likely suffer from a variety of serious illnesses, including a number of blood cancers, because of their work at ground zero.

Michael J. Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, said that he wanted state pension law amended so that Detective Zadroga's death and others like it are reclassified as occurring in the line of duty, qualifying survivors to receive larger benefits. A bill to make such a change has been proposed in Albany.

In Brooklyn yesterday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg noted that a law was passed last year allowing city workers who got sick after responding to the trade center site to qualify for full disability pensions, even after they retire. He called Detective Zadroga's death tragic, but said that the autopsy report may not be definitive.

"We'll see what other doctors say," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Generally, there are lots of other contributing factors."

More than 7,300 people who worked at the trade center recovery site — police officers, firefighters and constructions workers — have joined in a class-action suit seeking damages from their employers.

David E. Worby, the lawyer handling that suit, said about 40 of the plaintiffs have already died. "At a minimum, their diseases were aggravated, and accelerated by the toxic exposure," he said.

Toxic substances known to cause cancer, like benzene and asbestos, normally take decades to develop the disease. Mr. Worby said the doctors and scientists he had consulted believe that the complex mixture of chemicals that resulted from the collapse of the two towers — along with everything in them — may have created a unique compound that acts as an accelerant, vastly increasing the speed by which known carcinogens trigger cancer.

"It's a horror show," he said.

In a separate class-action lawsuit against federal environmental officials, residents and school children from Lower Manhattan claim they were given false assurance that the air around ground zero was safe enough for them to move back in a few days after the attack.

In February, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that statements about safety made by officials after 9/11 were misleading and "without question conscience-shocking."

04-20-2006, 09:17 PM
9/11 workers see hope, fear in autopsy


Associated Press

NEW YORK - An autopsy linking the death of a police officer to dust at the World Trade Center site was chilling confirmation to many 9/11 rescuers that more than four years later, the disaster is still claiming lives.

"It should open up people's eyes," said former firefighter Kevin Riley, who had to retire with lung problems after rushing to the scene as the twin towers collapsed.

A class-action lawsuit claims there have been dozens of deaths related to the cloud of debris that hung over the ruins. Hundreds of police officers, firefighters and others who labored at ground zero have respiratory illnesses and other chronic disorders they blame on asbestos and other substances. And there are others who are healthy now but fear they will develop cancer or other illnesses down the line.

Federal and city health experts say it could take 20 years to find definite links between the toxic cloud and some diseases or deaths, because most cancers take that long or even longer to develop and decades of statistics are needed to prove a relationship.

Last week, though, an autopsy report was released on 34-year-old police Detective James Zadroga, and it is being cited by his family and union as the first medical proof that people are still dying from the attacks.

Zadroga died in January of what was listed as pulmonary disease and respiratory failure. The autopsy found material "consistent with dust" in Zadroga's lungs, and Gerard Breton, a pathologist at the Ocean County, N.J., medical examiner's office concluded: "It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident."

The autopsy did more than confirm families' suspicions. It renewed fear.

"I'm sure not just in my household but in other people's households, the story upsets you, because my wife and my kids read that and obviously in the back of their heads, they think I'm next, so it's good and bad," said Riley, 48.

City and federal officials tracking 9/11 health problems insist it is still far too early to know if Zadroga's death is a "sentinel case" - an early warning of what could be a rising death toll.

Riley and many other Sept. 11 rescuers are receiving disability pay or workers' compensation for their illnesses. Some rescuers also want to make sure that when they die, they get the full death benefits available to police officers killed in the line of duty - something that would require a change in state law.

But many of the rescuers say the main issue is not the money. Instead, they say, they want clearer answers as to what is making them sick, and better treatment for whatever it is.

"It seems like they're trying to do the right thing, and it's good to help people in the future, but they don't have any answers for us now," said 49-year-old Joe Sykes, a fire marshal who worked at the morgue at ground zero until the end of October 2001, when his coughing forced him to take medical leave.

"It's frustrating for me, and frustrating for my family. When they get those answers, are we still going to be alive?"

To provide answers, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is conducting medical exams and screening to track symptoms among rescue workers and construction workers.

Also, city employees and researchers are operating the World Trade Center Health Registry, which uses questionnaires and phone calls to collect information from 71,437 people who worked at ground zero or were in the area. The city registry hopes to monitor their health over decades.

Critics say the research is useless if it cannot be used to help those suffering now.

"If we're looking 10 or 20 years down the road, then we're talking about a body count. I'm not looking to do a body count, I'm talking about finding out what problems exist and treating them," Pat Lynch, president of the city's police union. "We're not there to fill someone's filing cabinet."

04-24-2006, 07:12 PM
Sept. 11 health official says he's worried about illnesses


By Devlin Barrett
1:16 p.m. April 24, 2006

WASHINGTON – The government's point man on Sept. 11 health programs said he is worried that an autopsy linking a retired detective's death to recovery work at ground zero may be a warning sign of other life-threatening cases.

Dr. John Howard also said it will take time to determine whether there is a scientific link between deaths and exposure to toxic dust. Some epidemiologists have said it will take 20 years or more to prove such a link.

Howard, who is to meet in New York this week with congressional leaders about ground zero health issues, was tapped by the Bush administration in February to coordinate the federal response to ongoing Sept. 11 health programs.

That role took on greater urgency with the April release of retired Det. James Zadroga's autopsy, which concluded “with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident.” The autopsy said Zadroga died in January of respiratory failure caused by exposure to toxic dust.

Howard, whose day job is overseeing the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, told The Associated Press in a recent interview the autopsy was “worrisome, and we need to look further in this case.”

Doctors and government officials worry Zadroga's death may be a so-called sentinel case, an early harbinger of future deaths from such exposure.

“You have a particular case with characteristics that are unusual,” Howard said.

He cited Zadroga's relatively young age, 34, and diseased heart muscle. “Just based on that, you would say, gee, is this a sentinel case?” he said. “This may be a warning and requires attention and vigilance.”

Howard said his primary goal is to find out how many ground zero workers are suffering ill effects.

“The first issue is treatment. That is primary,” he said.

Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., said he was pleased Howard is aggressively examining cases like the Zadroga death.

“Clearly and sadly, Detective Zadroga and perhaps others will be the first of a wave of those who become the secondary victims of 9/11, though they didn't go down with the towers,” Fossella said.

05-09-2006, 09:00 AM
Whitman, Bush both lied to U.S.



To the Editor:

Two very powerful images remain in my mind from the 9/11 tragedy and the start of the war in Iraq. Environmental Protection Agency Commissioner Christie Whitman's statement from Ground Zero that the air quality was not hazardous and President Bush's photo-op statement. "mission accomplished" from aboard an aircraft carrier.

We now have dead and dying from the air quality at Ground Zero and the continuing war. Their lies are still alive, however.

Mountain Lakes

05-12-2006, 10:42 PM
Tracing Lung Ailments That Rose With 9/11 Dust


Published: May 13, 2006

As they push their investigation into the health risks to workers in the recovery and cleanup operations at ground zero, medical detectives are focusing on a group of lung diseases that can lead to long-term disabilities and, in some cases, death.

After nearly five years, it is still too early for these doctors, scientists and forensic pathologists to say with certainty whether any long-term cancer threat came with exposure to the toxic cloud unleashed by the trade center collapse. But there are already clear signs that the dust, smoke and ash that responders breathed in have led to an increase in diseases that scar the lungs and reduce their capacity to take in and let out air.

The Fire Department tracked a startling increase in cases of a particular lung scarring disease, known as sarcoidosis, among firefighters, which rose to five times the expected rate in the two years after Sept. 11. Though that rate has declined, doctors worry that the disease may be lurking in other firefighters. Experts who regularly see workers who were at ground zero in the 48 hours after the towers' collapse expect monitoring to show many more cases of lung- scarring disorders among that group.

New evidence also suggests that workers who arrived later or worked on the periphery may also be susceptible to debilitating lung ailments.

"We have thousands of people who were down there with unprotected exposures," said Dr. Stephen M. Levin, a director of the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program. "Many will develop asthma and a few will develop this terrible lung scarring that leads to disability or death."

But even in diseases closely related to dust, making a binding connection to ground zero exposure is hard. For instance, the Fire Department has linked sarcoidosis to working at the trade center site, while the Police Department has not.

The clues that led to this new area of medical investigation were stark reminders of what was lost on Sept. 11. They are drawn from cases of statistically unexpected respiratory disease among young responders.

The ailments now seen are far more serious than the general hacking and congestion known as "World Trade Center cough" that initially hit most responders. Rather, these are a set of diseases and disorders that typically take a few years to develop, and in some cases get progressively worse.

The most worrisome to medical experts are granulomatous pulmonary diseases, which show a particular type of swirling marks left on the lungs by foreign matter like dust. Doctors say the severity of the disease is often dictated by a patient's genetic makeup. The diseases include pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis, a sometimes fatal disorder that can be set off when exposure to dust causes the body's immune system to attack itself.

Some people can live with the scarring if they limit their activities, but in others the exposure to foreign material sets off a cascade of ailments that can lead to more debilitating conditions and, eventually, death. Detective James Zadroga, 34, died in January when his badly scarred lungs weakened and his heart gave out. The coroner's report gave the cause of death as "granulomatous pneumonitis," and the autopsy found swirls throughout his lungs caused by foreign material consistent with dust.

Detective Zadroga's death was the first to be officially linked by an autopsy report to exposure to the ground zero dust, although the electronmicroscope comparisons that could have proved the match beyond a reasonable doubt were not done by the coroner's office.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association earlier this year linked the deaths of two firefighters and a battalion chief — from lung disease and respiratory ailments — to the air at ground zero, although the Fire Department itself has not formally acknowledged that those deaths were connected to ground zero work. And three young emergency medical technicians who worked in the dust and smoke at ground zero have died from pulmonary diseases and coronary problems aggravated by their battered lungs, according to the union that represented them.

The use of respirators and dust masks might have reduced the incidence of respiratory ailments, but the most effective ones issued to firefighters are meant to last only 20 minutes. Other responders and volunteers who arrived after the first two days did not use dust masks at all or were only given paper masks, an issue raised in a pending class-action suit against the city and private companies involved in the cleanup.

Although the reported cases of lung disease affect a tiny portion of the 40,000 people who responded to the trade center collapse, they have already caused widespread concern among the survivors, lending urgency to medical efforts to understand the risks and illnesses involved.

"When these cases come to public attention, every individual down there who has some problem breathing thinks, 'I'm next,' " said Dr. Levin, a professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Dr. Levin's screening program offers the most complete picture of the health consequences of Sept. 11, apart from statistics maintained by the Fire Department on the firefighters. Nearly 12,000 union employees and other workers who were exposed to the trade center dust and debris have been examined.

Dr. Levin said that more than 60 percent of those people developed respiratory problems like sinusitis. He said continued monitoring was beginning to suggest that more serious lung problems might follow; he will complete a new epidemiological study of responders in a few months.

In testimony before a Congressional committee in February, Dr. Kerry J. Kelly, chief medical officer of the Fire Department, outlined the department's concerns about lung diseases. She said one responder awaiting a lung transplant had died of pulmonary fibrosis. And the department was alarmed to find that 20 firefighters had come down with sarcoidosis in the first two years after Sept. 11, "a substantial increase from prior years" that was believed to be linked to "massive dust inhalation" at ground zero.

The high rate, five times the expected level, has since returned to the expected range — a clear sign, doctors say, of a link to Sept. 11. But there is still cause for concern. The disease may take longer to develop in some people than others, doctors said, just as certain groups — including Northern Europeans and African-Americans — have been shown to have a higher incidence of sarcoidosis than the general population.

Medical experts say that proving that exposure to a known toxin caused an illness is notoriously difficult, even in situations where the hazards are as obvious as the thunderhead of dust and smoke that rolled through Lower Manhattan on Sept. 11 and lingered over the rubble pile for weeks.

In some cases, making such links causes so much discord that government agencies have come to conflicting conclusions, extending the misery of those involved.

For example, firefighters who have developed sarcoidosis since Sept. 11 are thought to have contracted the disease because of their work at ground zero. Yet the Police Pension Board has ruled that working at ground zero did not cause the death of a police officer who developed the disease.

"This rift between the Police and Fire Departments is ridiculous," said Michelle Haskett-Godbee, whose husband, Police Officer James J. Godbee Jr., died in December 2004. She said that Officer Godbee, who had worked at or near ground zero for more than 850 hours, suddenly developed a hacking cough and grew progressively weaker, although he had to keep working.

After his lung collapsed in March 2004, Officer Godbee, a former marine and 19-year police veteran, grew frail and listless. In the weeks before he died, he could barely get out of an easy chair at his Stuyvesant Town apartment, Mrs. Godbee said.

The autopsy done by the New York medical examiner's office found that Officer Godbee's lungs were pitted with the blisters and scars caused by sarcoidosis.

Despite the Fire Department's well-researched information on sarcoidosis, the Police Pension Board last June denied Mrs. Godbee's application for a line-of-duty death benefit, which would have provided her widow's benefits — equal to half her husband's annual salary — every year for the rest of her life. The board stated that sarcoidosis is "not known to be related to employment in the police force."

Mrs. Godbee said her husband worked multiple shifts over several months in the area below Canal Street that was clouded in dust from the collapsed buildings. He often came home with the stench on his clothes, and he was never given anything but a paper mask for protection.

"There's no way you can't get sick after smelling all that dust and dirt," said Mrs. Godbee, a school guidance counselor.

Her lawyer, John Patrick Rudden, is trying to force the Fire Department to open the medical records of the firefighters with sarcoidosis in the belief that such information would strengthen Mrs. Godbee's legal challenge of the pension board decision.

Michael T. Murray, general counsel of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said he expected the appeal to succeed because "the government can't treat two similarly positioned people differently."

Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman, did not defend the board's decision, but he said police officers were usually not exposed to the same smoke and dust as firefighters. He said it was the board, which includes medical experts, and not the department that made pension decisions.

05-20-2006, 12:29 PM
Doctor details findings of study on health of 9/11 rescue workers


Saturday, May 20, 2006

TYLER — More than 300 firefighters died trying to rescue victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Hundreds more can no longer work as firefighters because they can't make it up a flight of stairs without wheezing.

Dr. Stephen Levin, the medical director of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, presented findings of a two-year study on the 9/11 responders Friday at the University of Texas Health Center at Tyler.

Levin said many of the responders, including firefighters, law enforcement officers, medical professionals, construction workers and utility workers, suffer from persistent respiratory illnesses because of the toxic particles they inhaled after the towers were struck by airplanes.

Musculoskeletal injuries from falls and falling debris plague responders almost five years later, he said.

His discussion touched on the psychological effects of the search and rescue and cleanup, as well. About 8 percent of the 1,100 initial patients seen at the Mount Sinai clinic expressed thoughts of suicide, Levin said.

From July 2002 through July 2004, Levin's clinic and other clinics in the area evaluated and treated almost 12,000 World Trade Center responders.

He began his presentation, which was part of a daylong "Current Occupational Health Issues" conference at the health center, by showing photographs of rubble, smoke and fires at ground zero. About 40 health care workers attended the conference.

"This picture was taken in the afternoon of Sept. 11. It looks like dusk because there's so much airborne materials. There was a tremendous release of pulverized construction materials," Levin said.

Pulverized cement and gypsum were the most harmful particles inhaled by responders, Levin said. Pulverized glass, asbestos, silica, acid mist (from burned plastic furniture and pipes) and heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, also were among the toxic inhalants at the site.

Cement particles were corrosive and burned the lungs, he said.

Levin showed another photograph of a line of firefighters crawling on top of debris toward a thick cloud of smoke.

"No one (in the photo) despite this haze of dust was wearing what we would call adequate respiratory protection," he said.

He said responders on the day of the attacks had no respiratory protection. On the second day, firefighters were issued masks, but many didn't wear the gear because it prohibited responders from communicating with the other rescue workers. Some workers didn't know how to use them.

Some people wrapped cloths around their faces, but that actually did little to protect them from inhaling fine particles, Levin said.

He said residents who lived near the site were exposed when they returned to their homes a couple of weeks later. Schoolchildren also have experienced health problems related to the debris.

Levin said he saw one patient, an emergency medical technician, who was training for a marathon before September 11. The man had never had respiratory problems until that day. He now has asthma.

Levin said the Environmental Protection Agency informed people that the airborne conditions were safe during the days after the attacks, but the results of Mount Sinai's study prove otherwise.

"Their air monitoring looked good, but we had sick patients. We're still following patients and still seeing high rates of respiratory problems. This problem is not over for that responder community," Levin said.

05-25-2006, 08:40 AM



2006 -- The city has four words for many World Trade Center recovery workers who have fallen ill: It's your own fault.

In court papers seeking to dismiss all lawsuits by the workers, the city argues it did all it could to protect them from toxic dust, smoke and rubble - but many ignored the safety rules.

Workers were required to wear respirators - fitted breathing devices with air filters - on and around the WTC pile, but some defiantly refused, the city contends in a brief filed in Manhattan federal court last week.

"On several occasions, OSHA [U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration] inspectors confronted firefighters who were not wearing their respirators and given resistance - the firefighters told OSHA that they would not comply and that OSHA had no authority over them," the brief says.

The city says its Department of Design and Construction, which led the cleanup, reported this to ranking FDNY officials to try to get firefighters to comply.

When the DDC found construction workers not wearing safety gear, supervisors contacted the contractor in an effort to "re-educate the employee," the brief says.

The city filed the brief in asking U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein to toss out all 5,000-plus claims by WTC responders, claiming blanket immunity because it was responding to a civil emergency and acting "in good faith."

The city acknowledges the WTC site was tainted with tons of asbestos and other pulverized toxins and carcinogens. But, it claims, many workers ignored or disobeyed signs posted around the site, and other reminders to wear protective gear.

The city's arguments outraged advocates and lawyers for the workers.

"It's sick that they're blaming the victim," said David Worby, who represents 8,000 workers in a class-action suit. "Most of the workers weren't given any safety protection. Others were given faulty equipment. It was too little, too late."

The class-action contends the city, in a rush to reopen Wall Street, did not have adequate safety protocols: "They never hosed down the workers. They never took their uniforms at the end of the day and gave them fresh ones. People were eating their lunch on the pile."

06-01-2006, 08:49 AM
WTC responders illness worse than expected

http://www.rawstory.com/showarticle.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newsday.com%2 Fnews%2Flocal%2Fnewyork%2Fam-liwtc0601%2C0%2C4464768%2Cprint.story%3Fcoll%3Dny-nycnews-headlines

June 1, 2006

Doctors who treat World Trade Center responders say they are surprised almost five years later by the growing number seeking help for the first time -- 100 people a month in the biggest monitoring program -- and by the severity of illnesses among Sept. 11 workers already in treatment.

"There's no question there's continuing demand and many in the treatment program are quite ill," said Dr. Robin Herbert, codirector of the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan.

Herbert, whose program has examined about 15,000 responders since 2002, said doctors are finding "remarkable persistence" in breathing disorders such as chronic sinusitis and asthma, stomach ailments such as gastrointestinal reflux disease and psychological problems such as post traumatic stress disorder -- a suite of maladies one survivor called "my 9/11 plague."

Some patients also have come in with severe lung scarring, which can be fatal. And there have been cases of cancer, which worries experts, though they are unwilling to directly attribute them to exposure to Ground Zero toxins.

Doctors are also surprised by the numbers of new patients. Mount Sinai's screening program sees 100 new people a month, Herbert said. Despite adding more health care providers, Herbert said that for the last six months, the waiting list for treatment has grown to more than three months. "We honestly did not expect such ongoing demand," she said.

Dr. Ben Luft, program director for Long Island's World Trade Center monitoring program at Stony Brook University Hospital, which is following about 1,800 workers, said about 250 new workers from Long Island have come to the program in the past year.

"It's very surprising. Originally, we felt these are people who had an acute exposure and acute reaction, and we didn't think we were going to continue at this level for five years after exposure," said Luft, whose program, like Mount Sinai's, follows and treats Sept. 11 responders.

In some, he said, there appears to be "a period of latency" before symptoms develop. In others, symptoms have worsened over time, becoming bad enough to drive the person to seek help for the first time. "There's a chronic, progressive element to this," he said.

Herbert said she is also concerned about a small number of cases of lung scarring similar to that which killed Det. James Zadroga, 34, of Little Egg Harbor, N.J., in January. The coroner there found swirls in Zadroga's lungs caused by foreign material, which he linked to Ground Zero dust -- the first death to be officially tied to World Trade Center exposure.

"We're concerned because now we have a very small number of World Trade Center responders with much more serious lung scarring diseases," Herbert said.

Luft said he has also seen a handful of such cases.

Dr. David Prezant, chief medical officer in the Office of Medical Affairs in the New York City Fire Department at Montefiore Medical Center, said he also has seen some cases of lung scarring among the 14,000 fire fighters and emergency medical workers being monitored. He believes larger numbers of scarring cases and other diseases may show up in "another wave" decades from now.

Prezant coauthored a study published last month that showed the average lung function decline among fire fighters who were at Ground Zero one year after Sept. 11 was the equivalent of 12 years of aging.

World Trade Center workers are exchanging stories of cancers in colleagues -- especially of the blood, kidneys and pancreas -- they believe are the result of ingesting pulverized cement, glass fibers and other toxic substances at Ground Zero.

"We have a rough estimate of 200 to 300 people who are between the ages of 30 and 50 [with cancer]," said Jon Sferazo, 51, of Huntington Station, presiding officer of Unsung Heroes Helping Heroes, an advocacy group for Sept. 11 responders. "These cancers seem to be occurring in people far too young," he said.

Doctors are unwilling to link the cancer cases and exposure to Ground Zero toxins because it generally takes years for cancers to develop -- but they are tracking them closely. "We don't know if these are just normal, sporadic cases or if a pattern is developing. The methodology [in monitoring patients] has to be vigilant," Luft said.

Mental health problems, including depression and post traumatic stress disorder, are also not going away, experts said. As with new cases of physical ailments, health professionals are seeing new cases of psychological difficulties among people who previously hadn't sought help.

"What we're seeing is people coming forward for the first time," said Michael Arcari, the head of Faithful Response, a free mental health program for World Trade Center responders in North Bellmore.

Arcari, a former New York City Police Department lieutenant, said it is not unusual to see more people seeking help four to six years after a major trauma when their "coping mechanisms" start to falter. Since it began last year, his program has seen 130 people, the majority of whom are from Long Island.

"You start to see it in their personal lives and in their work performance," he said. "... A marriage is breaking up or something else is going on and their backs are up against a wall."

06-01-2006, 06:24 PM

06-01-2006, 10:33 PM
Officials Begin Survey for 9/11 Registry


Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK — City officials on Thursday launched a follow-up survey for thousands of people in a registry tracking post-Sept. 11 health problems, looking for proof of persistent respiratory and psychological illnesses in those who worked or lived near ground zero.

The World Trade Center Health Registry gathered initial information from 71,437 people who worked at ground zero or were in the area at the time of the attacks, making it the nation's largest such registry.

The program has come under criticism for failing to reach conclusions about post-Sept. 11 health effects sooner and for not providing information about treatment to survivors.

"We wish we had all of the answers. We wish we knew what the long-term health effects of 9/11 are," Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said Thursday. "But we don't."

The new questionnaires ask for more details about the registrants' exposure and any update on their symptoms.

Officials have warned that it may take 20 years before doctors know what Sept. 11 did _ and did not do _ to the emergency personnel, civilians and others engulfed in the airborne remains of the two 110-story buildings.

A class-action lawsuit representing thousands of ailing workers and civilians blames Sept. 11 for their health problems, and two programs in the city are treating tens of thousands of rescue workers who say they developed sinusitis, cancers and other ailments after the attack.

In addition, a New Jersey medical examiner this year declared that the death of a retired city police detective who spent hours at the trade center site was "directly related to the 9/11 incident."

Frieden said that while registrants have reported respiratory problems, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, "what we don't know are how long the symptoms are going to persist."

He said it would take several months to gather the data and that a follow-up report could be completed by the end of the year.

06-05-2006, 10:54 AM


Monday, 05 June 2006

With mounting evidence that exposure to the toxic smoke and ash at ground zero during the nine-month cleanup has made many people sick, attention is now focusing on the role of air-filtering masks, or respirators, that cost less than $50 and could have shielded workers from some of the toxins.

More than 150,000 such masks were distributed and only 40,000 people worked on the pile, but most workers either did not have the masks or did not use them.

These respirators are now at the center of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 8,000 firefighters, police officers and private workers who say they were exposed to toxic substances at or near ground zero that have made them sick or may eventually do so. While residents and office workers in the area also suffered ill effects, the work crews at the site who had the greatest exposure are thought to have sustained the greatest harm.

From legal documents presented in the case, a tale emerges of heroic but ineffective efforts to protect workers, with botched opportunities, confused policies and contradictions that failed to ensure their safety.

Lawyers representing the workers say that there was no central distribution point for the respirators, no single organization responsible for giving them out, and no one with the power to make sure the respirators that were distributed got used, and used properly.

By contrast, at the Pentagon, workers not wearing proper protective gear were escorted off the site.

"Employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace," said David Worby, the lawyer whose firm represents the workers. "But the majority of workers at ground zero were given nothing, or had masks that didn't work."

The allegations are based on the lawyers' review of more than 400,000 pages of official documents and the testimony of 30 government witnesses.

The city, which is the principal government defendant, has moved to have the lawsuit dismissed. It argues that it and the private contractors it hired to help in the cleanup did their best to provide adequate equipment and to get workers to use it, but many workers ignored the warnings. Many workers cited reasons for not keeping the masks on, like the stifling heat and the difficulty of communicating while wearing them.

Even if the response to an unprecedented emergency was flawed, the city's lawyers argue, a firmly established legal immunity under the State Defense Emergency Act and other laws protects New York from legal liability.

Kenneth A. Becker, head of the city's World Trade Center litigation unit, declined to comment on the charges in the complaint, saying it was "inappropriate to comment on pending litigation," beyond what is contained in documents already filed with the court. In those papers, the city argued that its "concern for the health and safety of all workers and volunteers at the W.T.C. site began immediately after the September 11 attacks and continued until the end of the rescue, recovery and debris removal operations."

Oral argument on the city's motion to dismiss the case is scheduled for June 22 before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of United States District Court in Manhattan.

Workplace Hazards
Ground zero was about the most dangerous workplace imaginable: a smoking heap of nearly two million tons of tangled steel and concrete that contained a brew of toxins, including asbestos, benzene, PCB's, and more than 400 chemicals. Indeed, recent health studies have found that many people who worked on the pile have since developed a rash of serious ailments, including gastrointestinal and respiratory problems.

In the chaos of the first 48 hours after the twin towers collapsed, only the city's firefighters had any personal protective equipment suitable for such an environment. But even that equipment was not sufficient.

Each firefighter is issued a full-face mask that is part of a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, also known as a Scott pack, which functions like scuba gear, supplying air while sealing out hazards.

But the tanks contain no more than 18 minutes of oxygen. The system works well if a firefighter is dashing into a burning building to rescue a baby. For a nine-month recovery operation, it was useless.

Once their Scott packs were exhausted, the first firefighters on the scene had no backup gear. That is why Firefighter Palmer Doyle and the crew from Engine Company 254 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, stopped at a hardware store on the way into Manhattan on Sept. 11 to buy every paper dust mask in stock.

When he returned to ground zero with 50 other firefighters on a bus a few days later, Firefighter Doyle looked for respirators. He was told there was just one left for the entire crew. It was given to the youngest among them.

Firefighter Doyle, now 51 and retired with mild asthma, a recurring cough and other work-related problems, said that the firefighters never thought for a second of refusing to work without respirators, but they did wonder when they were going to be available. Records produced in the lawsuit indicate that the Fire Department put in an order with the city for 5,000 P100 Organic Vapor/Acid Gas half-face masks, which cost less than $50 each, and 10,000 replacement filter cartridges on Sept. 28. But the order was not processed for almost two months.

Such delays remain a sore point. "Firefighters worked during the 9/11 rescue operation with little or no respiratory protection, and anyone who claims differently is lying," said Stephen J. Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. "The department further failed to supply anything but particle masks to its workers until much later."

In the first few days after Sept. 11, the only types of breathing protection generally available to people at ground zero were surgical masks and paper dust masks, often distributed by volunteers. Even Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington, who has qualified for workers' compensation for Sept. 11-related ailments, wore paper masks at that time, although industrial safety officers say they were practically useless.

When private construction crews first arrived to help with debris removal, they had no air-filtering equipment with them because they do not usually work in such hazardous conditions.

"For the average Joe, there was nothing," said Robert Gray, a crane operator who is co-author of a new book about the cleanup called "Nine Months at Ground Zero" (Scribner, 2006). Mr. Gray said that after several days, the International Union of Operating Engineers, to which he belongs, brought in a trailer to provide half-face masks and testing to make sure they fit and functioned properly.

Outside the pile, most workers in the early days of the cleanup had only paper masks, and many of the laborers hired by cleaning contractors to vacuum the asbestos from buildings downtown had nothing at all. The New York Committee on Occupation Safety and Health, a union labor organization, provided checkups and respirators to more than 400 of these laborers, many of them illegal immigrants.

David M. Newman, an industrial hygienist with the labor committee, said that when federal environmental officials announced that it was safe for people to return to Lower Manhattan so that Wall Street could reopen a week after the towers collapsed, employers suddenly "had a green light to say, 'We don't need to use respirators because the E.P.A. says the air is OK.' "

He was referring to a statement made on Sept. 18, 2001, by Christie Whitman, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, that air sampling done by her agency showed that the air was safe to breathe. The agency's inspector general concluded in 2003 that Ms. Whitman's statement was far too broad and could not be scientifically supported at the time she made it.

According to the inspector general's exhaustive recounting of the environmental consequences of Sept. 11, a federal emergency response team prepared a report on the day of the attacks recommending that respirators be used at ground zero.

But the report was never issued because it was decided that New York City, and not the federal government, should handle worker protection issues.

As the magnitude of the recovery operation grew clearer, attempts were made to bring order to the operation. On Sept. 20 the city issued its first safety plan, and it asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to take charge of distributing respirators. In what would become a controversial move, OSHA used its discretionary powers to decide not to enforce workplace safety regulations but to act in a supportive role that would not slow down operations.

"Given that the site was operating under emergency conditions, it was normal that we should suspend our enforcement action and assume the roles of consultation and technical assistance," Patricia Clark, OSHA regional administrator for New York, said in a 2003 OSHA publication.

OSHA placed emergency orders for tens of thousands of P100 half-face masks with replaceable filters. They cost from $25 to $50 at the time, and were certified to be effective protection against asbestos and most of the dust on the site.

But Mr. Worby, whose White Plains-based law firm, Worby Groner Edelman Napoli Bern, is handling the workers' joint action suit, said that even these masks were not adequate protection against the chemicals released by the collapsed buildings. He, and others, believe that ground zero should have been declared a toxic waste site, with workers required to wear hazardous-material suits.

Records produced in the lawsuit indicate that the city did receive 75,000 Tyvek suits, white protective overalls often used at hazardous waste sites, but never distributed them at ground zero.

Ms. Clark, the OSHA administrator, testified before Congress in October 2003 that the agency distributed 131,000 half-face respirators before the cleanup ended in June 2002, more than three times the number of workers on the site. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency provided 22,000 respirators and the operating engineers' union distributed 11,000.

There has been no clear accounting of where they all went. But based on witness accounts and reports by safety officers at the site, it appears that most were used improperly and then discarded. OSHA's own regulations require that masks be tested for fit on each individual wearer, and that men with facial hair must shave for the masks to fit properly.

The lawsuit against the city claims that most of the masks were simply handed out, without instructions or testing for fit. "Respirator fit testing done around the World Trade Center was illusory at best," the lawsuit says.

A separate lawsuit filed on behalf of downtown residents and schoolchildren exposed to ground zero contamination is pending in federal district court in Manhattan.

Several health studies have shown that the closer people came to the debris pile in the early days and weeks after the twin towers collapsed, the more serious are the ailments they develop. A city registry of 71,000 people — including responders and residents — exposed to the dust showed that people who live downtown have developed respiratory and mental health problems. But they generally have not been as serious as those reported by people who worked directly on the pile.

OSHA refused to answer questions about its handling of the respirators. John M. Chavez, a spokesman, said lawyers from the Department of Justice's environmental torts branch, which is handling trade center litigation, advised against talking to reporters about respirators because "the question goes to the heart of the issue of the litigation."

End Part I

06-05-2006, 10:55 AM
Going Without
After the masks arrived at ground zero, it soon became apparent that distributing them was easier than getting workers to wear them. At that time of passion and heroism, putting on any kind of respirator or mask was an expression of concern about personal safety — and for many that seemed selfish and unpatriotic in the midst of unimaginable disaster.

By contrast, more than 90 percent of the workers at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, which was overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers, wore respirators.

There were other reasons for not wearing the respirators. Scorching temperatures on the pile made working in the masks unbearable. It was nearly impossible for the workers to communicate with each other with masks on, so they pulled them down and many later kept them off. The filters clogged easily in the thick, powdery dust, and replacements were not always readily available.

But perhaps the greatest impediments to compliance were the confusing guidelines and spotty enforcement efforts. Overseeing the work, and worker safety, was a horde of government entities that, at its peak, exceeded 30 city, state and federal agencies with overlapping jurisdictions and, at times, contradictory policies.

Statements from the E.P.A. about the air being safe contradicted respirator requirements. OSHA eventually established a green line, which it actually painted around the pile, and ordered respirators to be worn inside the green line. But in November 2001 the various government agencies and private contractors entered into a partnership: OSHA agreed not to issue fines or citations, and the contractors vowed to follow regulations.

The city, in its legal defense, says it issued advisories, distributed pamphlets and put up signs telling workers to wear respirators. But observers from unions and labor safety organizations, some using binoculars, found no more than half of the workers ever used their respirators. At times, no more than one in five workers were in compliance.

The compliance problem at ground zero was regularly brought up at daily safety committee hearings held by the city with other agencies and private contractors. But without strict enforcement, the situation never improved. Frustrated contractors doubted that anything short of "having workers' mother on site to admonish them to comply would be effective," according to records of one of the meetings cited in the legal documents.

Mr. Worby, the lawyer, says attempts to blame the workers for not wearing respirators go against the spirit of New York labor laws, which oblige employers to provide safe working environments. He argued that even if doing so was impractical in the first chaotic days after the attacks, rigorous standards could have been imposed in the many months that followed.

Lawyers for the injured workers are looking to recoup monetary damages for their pain, suffering, lost days and troubled nights.

The city and the 190 private companies named in the lawsuit, which was filed last year, say they did the best they could to balance safety with expediency. They point out that in nine months at ground zero, there was not one fatality.

But several recent health studies have shown that exposure to ground zero dust has caused serious respiratory and gastrointestinal problems in hundreds of people who worked at the site. Doctors have also started to notice an unusual number of lung-scarring diseases, especially among firefighters. So far there has been only one death officially linked to dust exposure, that of Detective James Zadroga, whose death early this year was attributed to lung scarring caused by the work he did at ground zero.

Both sides in the suit cast an uneasy eye on the future. The city clearly worries that if there is another attack it will not be able to hire contractors and respond to the emergency without fear of becoming entangled in legal liabilities, which could hamper its ability to restore order and protect the city.

In the same vein, the workers' representatives ask, if they are again called in to help, will the environmental and labor laws intended to protect them be enforced?


06-11-2006, 04:04 PM
Program will focus on post-9/11 health problems


By Kathryn Gill, Freeman staff

NEW PALTZ - Deadly illnesses and other health problems that have arisen from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks will be the focus of a free daylong conference Monday at SUNY New Paltz.

The conference begins at 10 a.m. in Room 100 of the campus Lecture Center. It is sponsored by SUNY and The Lower Manhattan Health Project.

Among the presenters will be Dr. Stephen M. Levin, director of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program, and individuals who say they suffer from health problems they developed after the World Trade Center's twin towers were demolished by hijacked airplanes.

Donna Flayhan, a local resident and director of the Lower Manhattan Public Health Project, said the conference is "really important for the public to come to."

Flayhan said smoke and ash that emerged at ground zero during the nine-month cleanup of the site contained dangerous levels of asbestos and lead cadmium, as well as tiny pieces of glass, all of which have caused health problems and rescue workers, police officers and firefighters.

Though 150,000 respirator masks were distributed and only 40,000 people worked at the site, most either never received masks or didn't use them.

A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the more than 8,000 individuals who claim to have gotten sick at ground zero. David Worby, a lawyer whose firm is representing the plaintiffs, will be among the speakers at Monday's event.

Flayhan says that even though almost five years have passed since the attacks, toxic dust still is circulating around ground zero, getting into ventilation systems and causing continued health problems. And she disputes assurance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the air near the Trade Center site is safe to breathe.

"The heroes of 9/11 are dying," she said.

The schedule for Monday's conference in as follows.

* 10 a.m. to noon: Dr. Stephen Levin, Diane Stein, Dr. Rebecca Bascom, Dr. Christine Oliver and David Worby.

* 1-3 p.m.: Documentary film "The Toxic Clouds of 9/11: A Looming Health Disaster," by Alison Johnson. (Johnson also made the documentary "Gulf War Syndrome: Aftermath of a Toxic Battlefield.")

* 3-4 p.m.: Rescue and recovery worker John Feal.

In the fall of 2005, SUNY New Paltz began offering a minor in Disaster Studies through the Institute for Disaster Mental Health. The minor focuses on training people to deal with natural, technological and manmade disasters and on how such events affect individuals, communities, organizations and the nation.

"The terrorist bombings in London, the hurricanes in Florida and the (April 2005) floods in Ulster and Orange counties remind us that disaster are not uncommon and can occur anywhere and any time," said James Halpern, director of the institute and professor of psychology at SUNY New Paltz.

06-11-2006, 04:17 PM
The tragedy makes James Zadroga, 34, the first rescue worker to die from illness attributed to the Ground Zero rubble, a police spokesperson said yesterday.

Thanks, I've read about him already.

Yes, he was a hero, yes, it is very tragic but he was hardly the first victim. maybe, the first clear-cut victim (i.e., if you take someone whose health was not as good as that of a twenty-something well trained cop it might be harder to say what they've died from). But the fact is, many of the rescue workers started to get really sick (cancers, etc.) within the first year or two after 9/11.

06-11-2006, 06:13 PM

http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/cancer_hits_283_rescuers_of_9_11_regionalnews_susa n_edelman.htm


June 11, 2006 -- Since 9/11, 283 World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers have been diagnosed with cancer, and 33 of them have died of cancer, says a lawyer for the ailing responders.

David Worby, a lawyer for 8,000 World Trade Center responders, including cops, firefighters and construction workers, said the cases include blood-cell cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's and myeloma.

Doctors say the cancers can strike three to five years after exposure to toxins such as benzene, a cancer-causing chemical that permeated the WTC site from burning jet fuel.

"One in 150,000 white males under 40 would normally get the type of acute white blood-cell cancer that strikes a healthy detective," said Worby, whose first client was NYPD narcotics cop John Walcott, now 41. Walcott spent months at Ground Zero and the Fresh Kills landfill. The father of three is fighting leukemia.

"We have nearly 35 of these cancers in the family of 50,000 Ground Zero workers. The odds of that occurring are one in hundreds of millions," Worby said.

Others suffer tumors of the tongue, throat, testicles, breast, bladder, kidney, colon, intestines, and lung, said Worby, of Worby, Groner, Edelman, & Napoli, Bern, which filed the class-action suit.

WTC workers who have died of cancer include paramedic Deborah Reeve, 41 (mesothelioma); NYPD Officer Ronald Weintraub, 43 (bile-duct cancer); and Stephen "Rak" Yurek, 46, a Port Authority emergency technician (brain cancer). The families say they were healthy before 9/11.

Dr. Robin Herbert, a director of WTC medical monitoring at Mount Sinai Hospital, said some of the nearly 16,000 responders screened to date are getting cancer.

"We do not know at this point if they are WTC-related, but some are unusual cancers we see as red flags," Herbert said.

Dr. Iris Udasin, principal investigator for the Mount Sinai screening of 500 in New Jersey, said the 9/11 link is "certainly a possibility," she said. "It's what we worry about, and what we fear."

06-17-2006, 06:03 PM
First Responders Ask Government To Pay 9-11 Health Bill
Rescuers Want 'Solid Commitment' To Funding Health Care of 9-11 Workers


UPDATED: 4:59 pm EDT June 17, 2006

NEW YORK -- Rescue workers and elected officials were among those who attended a rally Saturday at the World Trade Center site calling for a better government response to the health effects of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Organizers said they're looking for a "solid commitment" to fund long-term health monitoring and treatment to address the health needs of those who worked at or near ground zero.

They said rescue workers “were exposed to toxic contaminants that jeopardized their health and safety. Since that day, many have become seriously ill and others have died.”

Attention on the issue has increased since a New Jersey medical examiner this year declared that the death of a retired New York City police detective who spent hours at the World Trade Center site was directly related to 9-11.

Health officials said it may take 20 years before doctors know what Sept. 11 did -- and didn't do -- to the emergency personnel, police, civilians and others engulfed in the airborne remains of the twin towers.

The primary organizers of the event were the 2 million-member New York State AFL-CIO and Unsung Heroes Helping Heroes, an organization of rescue and recovery workers working on behalf of the rights of disaster-response workers.

06-17-2006, 10:10 PM
Protesters Urge Better Care for Those Exposed to 9/11 Dust


Published: June 18, 2006

More than 200 people — first responders, union members and politicians — rallied at ground zero yesterday to protest the government's response to the health effects of 9/11 and to demand comprehensive care for those possibly sickened by the World Trade Center wreckage.

"Our goal is very simple," said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York City Democrat. "We want everyone exposed to the deadly toxins monitored and everyone who is sick treated."

The two-hour rally was the latest effort by what has become an organized coalition dedicated to addressing the long-term impact of the disaster. It came as a growing body of evidence suggested that the noxious cocktail of dust and fumes at the World Trade Center site has caused lung problems, other illnesses and, in at least one case, death.

Many of the two dozen or so people who spoke at the event, including former recovery workers and their families, said that top federal, state and local officials seemed to be focusing on 9/11 memorials while workers who untangled the gnarled debris at ground zero continued to face red tape, resistance and skepticism over their claims.

In speeches laced with words like "shameful," "disgraceful" and "outrageous," they described a health care system and a post-9/11 bureaucracy that offered lip service to their heroic service, but little else.

Joseph Zadroga, the father of a New York police detective, James Zadroga, who died in January, said that doctors and Police Department officials had ignored his son's sickness until it was too late. Detective Zadroga, 34, died from heart and lung complications that a medical examiner in New Jersey described as "directly related to the 9/11 incident."

Detective Zadroga died on the floor of his bedroom, Mr. Zadroga said, his voice cracking, "with his daughter's bottle in hand, and his daughter on the bed."

"I really believe," he said later in an interview, "that my son would be alive today if they took care of him right after 9/11."

Detective Zadroga's death was just the beginning, said Marvin Bethea, 46, a former paramedic who said he now takes 15 medications to deal with what he described as the physical and psychological ailments from working at the trade center site.

"There will be more sick survivors, heroes and private citizens if government doesn't act upon our cries," he said.

The issue of when to pay benefits, or acknowledge 9/11-related illnesses, has been contentious since the initial days after the attack when the Environmental Protection Agency said the air at ground zero was safe to breathe. Later, studies by doctors and surveys of those who became sick questioned that conclusion.

More recently, the city's workers' compensation program has come under scrutiny for strictly enforcing a September 2003 deadline for filing requests for benefits. In the most high profile case, Rudy Washington, a former deputy mayor, had his initial claim challenged by the city, and then appealed by city lawyers after a judge granted him health care benefits for lung and throat problems related to ground zero.

Last month, Mr. Bloomberg asked the city to settle the case. But at the rally, Mr. Washington's case was described as a sign of larger problems.

"You shouldn't have to be a deputy mayor to get justice," said Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing, a Manhattan Democrat.

More than $100 million has been set aside for the screening and treatment of ground zero workers, but Representative Maloney and others said that money was not nearly enough to screen tens of thousands of workers for decades and to guarantee benefits and treatment.

"You have to do the right thing," said Mr. Zadroga, a former police chief in North Arlington, N.J. "You have to take care of these people."

06-17-2006, 10:43 PM
One of my worst memories of being down there is the damndest thing: It was like 9/14. People were walking all over just below Houston St. trying to get as close as they could. And I saw this couple walking with a stroller. They were wearing masks, just dust masks. And the toddler in the stroller wasn't. I couldn't believe my eyes. Man, I almost ran over and decked the guy, I just got so mad... Don't know why that stupid memory is stuck in my brain. But, anyway....

06-17-2006, 11:01 PM
One of my worst memories of being down there is the damndest thing: It was like 9/14. People were walking all over just below Houston St. trying to get as close as they could. And I saw this couple walking with a stroller. They were wearing masks, just dust masks. And the toddler in the stroller wasn't. I couldn't believe my eyes. Man, I almost ran over and decked the guy, I just got so mad... Don't know why that stupid memory is stuck in my brain. But, anyway....

Upon looking at this, I can't believe I said that was one of my worst memories... I must be tired. That week was like a surrealistic nightmare, but for some reason that one thing stuck out in my head, a brain worm I call it.

06-22-2006, 08:49 AM
Thousands claim exposure in 9/11 aftermath


(Original publication: June 22, 2006)

David Worby is now at the helm of what he calls the largest and most important class-action lawsuit in U.S. history, representing thousands of people he says are dying at an accelerated pace from exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.

He says a national health emergency should be declared because his 8,000 clients are developing cancer, kidney and respiratory ailments in the nearly five years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The big question: To what extent is this true?

The answer: No one really knows because Worby hasn't shared medical proof, and that's why even the government's 9/11 health coordinator recently stopped by his White Plains penthouse office to see what he's got.

The fact is that no one has done a comprehensive study of the health consequences on an estimated 75,000 police, firefighters and construction workers who responded to the World Trade Center site — and Worby has stepped into the vacuum.

"You're looking at the system," Worby said. "I'm it."

He has sued New York City and its contractors, who oversaw the rescue and cleanup, claiming they failed to protect workers from cancer-causing benzene and other hazardous chemicals that filled the air. Worby returns today to a federal court in Manhattan, where the defense will argue for a dismissal on the grounds that the city made a "good faith" effort to safeguard workers by providing them equipment, such as masks, and trying to ensure they used it.

The city's lawyers also claim that New York is legally immune from liability while providing services during an attack on U.S. soil.

Worby says the city should have shut down the operation, and declared it a hazardous waste site, immediately after it was clear no survivors would be found. Instead, workers remained there for months, forming bucket brigades that cleared debris and searched the smoking rubble for bodies.

He has thousands of clients saying they basically fended for themselves the first few days, then were given masks with filters that were later replaced because they were deemed insufficient to block out all the toxins.

It was 20 months after the attacks that Worby's first two clients — NYPD detectives John Walcott of Pomona and Richard Volpe of Mount Kisco — walked into his office to report they were suffering life-threatening conditions.

Both men arrived at Ground Zero shortly after the towers came crashing down. They searched the pile for survivors the first few days as part of the bucket brigade, wearing nothing more than surgical masks. They spent the next several months recovering body fragments, volunteering on days off. They felt so strongly about the mission that they braved the conditions, even as they began coughing up blood and black soot.

"I thought this could be doing something to my body, but at the same time, I was thinking it's my job and that they wouldn't put me in a dangerous situation like that," Volpe, 38, said.

"I was told everything was safe," Walcott, 41, said.

A married father with a newborn child, Walcott became increasingly sluggish in the ensuing months. He attributed it to having to wake up early to coach hockey at Fox Lane High School.

In May 2003, he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and told he would be dead in a week without treatment. So he began five months of chemotherapy and had a stem-cell transplant.

Told his cancer likely resulted from his exposure to benzene at Ground Zero, he also went in search of an attorney. He and Volpe — who is suffering kidney failure — contacted two attorneys whose fees were too high, before finding Worby.

'A voice to 9/11 heroes'
Worby, a 53-year-old Bedford resident, already was one of the region's most successful personal injury lawyers, an outspoken advocate who set a Westchester and Putnam county record in 1989 by securing $18 million for a construction worker hit by a car on the Hutchinson River Parkway. He's also a composer, playwright, author, producer and TV writer, according to his Web site. Ice-T and Snoop Dogg, whom Worby calls "unrelated brothers," will star in one of his screenplays that begins shooting in the fall.

He came out of semiretirement to file the suit in September 2004.

Initially, his lawsuit got little attention, partly because few took him seriously, including the news media he was courting. But his client list kept growing, largely by word of mouth. Walcott and Volpe, for their part, have referred several people with whom they worked at the World Trade Center site.

Although Worby has only met a couple of hundred of his clients, he now has more than a dozen lawyers working full time on the case and a team of medical consultants. His profile has grown to the point that media and politicians are now seeking him out.

"David Worby has given a voice to 9/11 heroes who would otherwise be suffering in silence," said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who has met Worby to discuss his suit and her fight for a greater government response to the health concerns. "Because our government has basically abandoned these workers, advocates like Mr. Worby have had to intervene on their behalf."

This month, he's sat down with everyone from The New York Times to "60 Minutes," declaring that 57 of his clients have already died from 9/11 causes, including two this week.

"I predicted two years ago that I would have hundreds of people dying and nobody listened," he said. "I have 300 people dying of cancer in the next few months. We're just now entering the latency period for these toxins."

But as with most of the sickness and deaths, he won't disclose names or evidence linking the illnesses to 9/11, citing privacy concerns. He referred The Journal News to one doctor who is assisting his case, but that person did not return repeated calls.

"All you people in the media are torturing me," Worby said. "You say, 'Give me doctors, give me scientists.' Find your own scientists. Challenge me."

He has no medical degree, though one of his consultants dubbed him a "brown-shoe epidemiologist."

The reality is one of the deaths formally linked to 9/11 recovery work was NYPD Detective James Zadroga of New Jersey, whose autopsy found he died from respiratory failure caused by exposure to toxic dust.

Some experts say the types of cancer Worby's reporting typically wouldn't occur for at least 10 years after exposure but note it could be hastened by the extreme level of toxins at Ground Zero.

"It's a very sad commentary that a lawyer working on his own knows more about the health of people who were exposed to 9/11 hazards than the government, which has a responsibility to protect the public health," said Jonathan Bennett, spokesman for the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health.

'Reason to be concerned'
The federal government did set up a health registry in 2003 for lower Manhattan residents, workers and rescue personnel. But while 71,000 people participated, the program has come under fire because it gave no medical testing, care or referrals.

Under one federal program, Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City has screened about 16,000 World Trade Center responders and treated 1,800 people, though the treatment has a 16-week wait list.

Dr. Robin Herbert, the program's co-director, said "at least a few" of them have developed cancer, although doctors haven't studied whether they're linked to Sept. 11.

"We are not near the point where we can say anything scientific about the cancer rates among our population," Herbert said.

"The programs we're operating were not funded to specifically track nor identify deaths among WTC responders," she added.

She refused to comment on the suit but said screeners at Mount Sinai have been "badly surprised by the persistence of our patients' WTC-related illnesses."

"We do know there were various cancer-causing agents in the environment, and I think there is certainly reason to be concerned and to watch this group very carefully," she said.

Worby has not declared how much money his suit will seek but said that his priority is getting the government to address the crisis facing his clients and others.

"This is a mission, this is not a case," he said. "I've never seen anything like this in my life. It has nothing to do with being a lawyer. It has everything to do with understanding the medical catastrophe and helping people."

06-23-2006, 10:03 AM
Lawsuit says poisons killed 57 at WTC site



Fifty-seven Ground Zero workers have died and thousands of others have been sickened by exposure to a noxious mix of chemicals released when the World Trade Center was reduced to smoldering rubble, their lawyer said yesterday.
But in a courtroom blocks from the site, the city denied responsibility, saying its contractors were acting in the nation's defense as they worked to restore Ground Zero in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"The city and the contractors stepped up to the plate on 9/11 and worked 24/7 until the job was done," city attorney James Tyrrell told Manhattan Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein. "They jumped in, no questions asked, and did their duty."

The city is trying to beat back a class-action lawsuit filed by some 8,000 workers and the families of the dead who claim the city, in its haste to clear the site, exposed them to dangerous levels of asbestos, lead and other toxins.

Dozens have died from cancers accelerated by respiratory diseases brought on by their work at Ground Zero, said David Worby, an attorney who represents the plaintiffs. The sick include firefighters, cops, construction workers and other emergency personnel.

Tyrrell argued that the city should be shielded from negligence claims because it was in the midst of a national emergency that demanded a "robust" response.

But Worby said Ground Zero ceased being an emergency site in the days after the attacks when Bush administration officials declared air quality at Ground Zero safe.

"At a certain point, the emergency ends and the regular rules have to apply," Worby said. "The tragedy is this is only the beginning [of the number of] the people who are sick and dying."

Hellerstein questioned Tyrrell about the "prolonged nature" of an "emergency" cleanup that lasted eight months.

The city, together with the Port Authority and several other defendants, will continue making its case before Hellerstein today.

06-24-2006, 10:46 AM
9/11 Suit Tests New York Stand on Immunity


Published: June 23, 2006

A federal judge heard oral arguments yesterday on the city's motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought on behalf of more than 8,000 firefighters, police officers and construction workers who say they were harmed by exposure to toxic substances while working at ground zero.

The city's lawyers have argued that the city cannot be sued because it has legal immunity under a state civil defense law.

During the hearing, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of United States District Court in Manhattan focused on how long after Sept. 11 the legal immunity claimed by the city lasted and whether the $1 billion federal insurance fund that has been set aside to cover such claims against the city could be considered evidence that it could, in fact, be sued.

The questions are crucial to determining whether the responders and other workers can seek damages from the city and 150 private contractors for ailments they say they suffered as a result of the work they did downtown in the nine months after the twin towers collapsed.

Lawyers representing the workers argue that after the first two weeks the city was guilty of an "inexcusable violation of basic safety laws" because it did not ensure that the workers had proper protective equipment, like half-face respirators, and the training to use them.

They also argue that Congress would never have established a $1 billion insurance fund in 2003 if it believed that the city was immune from negligence lawsuits. The money came from the $20 billion recovery package approved by Congress following the attack.

"The city is not going to pay a dime out of its own pocket" if the injured workers are allowed to sue, said Kevin K. Russell, a Washington-based lawyer with Howe & Russell, who represented the workers in yesterday's proceedings.

James E. Tyrrell Jr., a lawyer with the Washington-based firm Patton Boggs, representing the city yesterday, acknowledged in court that the city had asked Congress to create the $1 billion fund in case questions about liability jeopardized the city's fiscal future. He said that if the money was not used to cover such claims it would be available to help the city pay for other expenses related to Sept. 11.

Judge Hellerstein noted from the bench that the federal insurance fund's existence was not necessarily an admission by Congress that the city could be sued, a point with which the city's lawyers agreed.

However, at several points in the proceedings Judge Hellerstein did raise questions about the extent of the city's immunity under the State Defense Emergency Act. The act, a piece of cold war civil defense legislation, was originally intended to protect cities and private contractors from negligence lawsuits after they respond to a foreign attack.

The judge asked whether the city's immunity under state law continued through the long period of cleanup. "In considering this situation, maybe the immunity was less and the duty was more over the long period of cleaning up the debris," Judge Hellerstein said, referring to the duty of the city and its contractors to ensure worker safety after it became clear, within two weeks of the attack, that there were no more survivors to be rescued.

Mr. Tyrrell, the city's lawyer, argued that the legal immunity began on Sept. 11 and continued for nine months. He said the city's emergency declaration was renewed every five days as required by law and did not end until June 30, 2002, when the cleanup was considered complete.

Lawyers representing the workers assert that in the nearly five years since the attack, more than 300 responders have gotten cancer and thousands of others have become sick from a variety of respiratory ailments and other diseases that they say are linked to toxins released by the towers' collapse and the fires that burned for months afterward.

The city says that more than 200,000 respirators were distributed to workers at ground zero. But there were conflicting statements at the time from government officials about the safety of the air downtown and whether wearing the protective masks was mandatory. Some workers said they took off the masks when they became uncomfortable or when they made communicating with other workers difficult.

Several health studies have shown that a high percentage of workers exposed to ground zero dust and smoke have complained of respiratory and gastrointestinal problems. Fire Department studies also have shown that firefighters suffered a substantial loss of breathing capacity. And at least one death, that of Detective James Zadroga earlier this year, has been formally connected to ground zero dust by a medical examiner.

The city has argued that it will be handicapped in responding to any future disasters if the possibility of negligence lawsuits is left hanging over its head. It also says that injured workers can now receive workers' compensation and free medical treatment.

Lawyers for the workers are similarly concerned about the future, and whether responders to new disasters would be properly protected. They also say that the workers' compensation system is difficult to navigate and that many workers are left with few, if any, options for receiving medical treatment.

The hearing on the city's motion to dismiss the lawsuit will continue on Monday.

06-26-2006, 07:46 PM
9/11 responders speak of pain


STAFF WRITER; Staff writer Erik German contributed to this story.
June 26, 2006

David Miller coughed into a napkin, leaving behind a quarter-sized smear of blood.

The hacking is a constant reminder of the 10 days the National Guardsman spent clearing debris at Ground Zero.

Forty-eight hours after he arrived in the smoking aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack, Miller said yesterday, the health effects from airborne debris were obvious and severe.

"I was practically blind, I was coughing, I had blisters all up and down my arms," he said. "If I'd been smart I wouldn't have gone back."

Today, Miller's health is crumbling. The 39-year-old Bronx construction worker said he suffers chronic lung infections, skin rashes and a 60 percent drop in lung capacity.

Miller and several other 9/11 first responders spoke yesterday about lingering health problems at The Community Church of New York on East 35th Street in Manhattan. The forum is part of a series of lectures, films and public protests organized by the nonprofit group New York 9/11 Truth. The organization accuses the government of covering up intelligence failures leading to the attacks and allowing first responders to work in toxic conditions at Ground Zero, among other charges.

The event came just days after a U.S. Federal Court judge in Manhattan heard a pretrial motion in an ongoing lawsuit against the City of New York brought by more than 8,000 police officers, firefighters and others claiming their health was harmed by exposure to toxic materials at Ground Zero. The city has moved to dismiss the suit, arguing it has legal immunity.

Yesterday's panel included several first responders who related their experiences at the site following the attack on the World Trade Center, as well as the long-term health problems they say resulted from breathing toxins at Ground Zero.

In addition to these failures, many spoke of lingering psychological effects. Kevin McPadden, a former Air Force medic, said he came to the rubble pile alone on Sept. 11 and spent the next four days searching nearby buildings for bodies and survivors.

He said he continues to struggle with depression and anger stemming from his days of working at Ground Zero. Since Sept. 11 he said he's had trouble keeping a job. "Every day is a challenge," he said. "I really don't feel alive. I'm a very bitter man."

In addition to first responders, the panel included Janette MacKinlay, author of a book describing her 9/11 experiences, who lived across the street from the World Trade Center. MacKinlay was home on the morning of Sept. 11 and she said the windows of her home were blown in when the towers collapsed.

MacKinlay sharply criticized what she called the government's failure to address health problems of first responders. "This injustice has become part of the grief and trauma of 9/11," she said.

Event organizer Les Jamieson said the forum's purpose was to raise awareness of health problems and other issues associated with working at Ground Zero.

"Many people who breathed that air, they won't get sick until eight, 10 years later," he said. "This story is just beginning to unfold."

Jamieson also said the event was an opportunity for people who felt they should have been compensated under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to have their stories told.

"We're not just talking about health here. There are serious financial and psychological issues as well, and a lot of people are being left out in the cold," he said.

Staff writer Erik German contributed to this story.

07-03-2006, 04:36 PM
9/11 recovery workers: ‘Gov’t deceived, abandoned us’


By Deirdre Griswold
Published Jul 3, 2006 3:36 PM

Millionaire Christine Todd Whitman, the Bush appointee who used to head the Environmental Protection Agency, said exactly one week after the collapse of the Twin Towers, “I’m glad to reassure the people of New York that their air is safe to breathe.”

Capitalist politicians, from President George W. Bush to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, put on hard hats for the cameras and praised the “first responders,” calling them heroes and offering all their support.

But today, thousands of those who worked at ground zero after the buildings collapsed are furious at the government, which they charge deceived and abandoned them.

This June 17, some 200 held a rally at the site to demand comprehensive health care for all those sickened by the work there after the disaster. “Many of the two dozen or so people who spoke at the event, including former recovery workers and their families, said that top federal, state and local officials seemed to be focusing on 9/11 memorials while workers who untangled the gnarled debris at ground zero continued to face red tape, resistance and skepticism over their claims.” (New York Times, June 18)

Like U.S. soldiers sickened by the Pentagon’s use of Agent Orange and depleted uranium in its wars for empire, these workers—whose health is failing after breathing in the toxic dust left by the towers’ collapse—are being treated as malingerers by a capitalist government that spends hundreds of billions each year for war and for state repression at home but has cut essential services.

Many former recovery workers who are too sick to labor now find themselves unemployed and joining the 45 million people in this country without health care.

A special program for 9/11 responders set up at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan has seen about 15,000 people since 2002, according to Dr. Robin Herbert. Almost five years after the collapse, it is still getting 100 new cases each month. So many are applying that there’s now a three-to-four-month backup. As of early this year, the program had received not one penny of government funds.

In January, WABC-TV Eyewitness News reported on the death of Chris Pellegrino, a cable installer who had worked at ground zero for months. He died of lung illness at age 42 after developing “World Trade Center cough.” The number of responders and recovery workers who have died, some in the prime of life, is now well over 30. Just one attorney, David Worby, said in January that 21 of his clients had died of Sept. 11-related diseases since mid-2004. (Associated Press, Jan. 18)

It took the death of a police detective, 34-year-old James Zadroga, for the state to finally acknowledge the link between breathing in the toxic dust and fatal lung disease. Zadroga’s father said at the rally, however, that doctors and Police Depart ment officials had ignored his son’s sickness until it was too late.

Doctors at Mount Sinai say they’re now seeing more cases of the severe lung scarring that killed Zadroga. (Newsday, June 1) They also report that cancers of the blood, kidney and pancreas are appearing among this group at a rate much higher than in the general population.

After 9/11, Congress rushed to pass the Patriot Act, which has turned into a huge boondoggle for big business. (See accompanying article, p. 10.) But when it comes to allocating tax money for a real public health program that would end the crisis in health care, these servants of capital run the other way.

07-13-2006, 11:09 PM
Rep. Bill Pascrell wants feds who 'cleared air' charged



WASHINGTON - Public officials who "cleared the air" in lower Manhattan after 9/11 - assuring New Yorkers that the air was not toxic - should be hauled into court and prosecuted, a New Jersey congressman charged yesterday.

"We know from all the records that [the Environmental Protection Agency] kept on telling us, members of Congress, that everything was just wonderful, yet we now understand what our first responders are going through," said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J).

"We are here five years later and we still have held no one accountable as to what the response was and what happened in terms of that tragedy," he said. "This is not acceptable and somebody has to pay the price."

"Whoever cleared the air, and the air wasn't clear, that's pretty simple," added Pascrell, whose strong words came during a House oversight subcommittee hearing into 9/11 recovery aid.

Outside the packed hearing room, Pascrell was asked whether he would count Christie Whitman, who was the chief of EPA during 9/11, as among those who had "cleared the air."

"She sure did," Pascrell said. "She was giving this thing a clean bill of health - and it didn't deserve to be given one."

Asked if then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani also qualified for similar criticism, Pascrell said, "He was doing his job. The mayor has to reassure, but the mayor has to reassure based on fact. I don't care who it was. The people deserved the truth, and they deserve answers."

The veteran North Jersey pol recalled that serious concerns were raised about the air quality in lower Manhattan in the days and weeks after 9/11, many by the Daily News.

"There were questions at the time, if you remember, 'Are we sure about this?'" he said. "Now people are coming forth with the symptoms. And now what do we do?"

Neither Giuliani nor Whitman could immediately be reached for comment last night.

But in a News Op-Ed piece published about six weeks after the terror attacks, Whitman sought to reassure the public, writing, "The people of New York deserve all the information available in as useful and complete a form as possible."

07-24-2006, 10:23 PM
Abandoned heroes
Mayor must face WTC health crisis


(Gold9472: This made me cry.)


12,000 brave souls who worked in this toxic cloud after Sept. 11 are sick.

Officer Steven Mayfield patrolled Ground Zero for more than 400 hours. Now he has sarcoidosis, shortness of breath, sinusitis and sleep apnea. "My lungs are damaged; they will never be the same," he says.

City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden won't complete his WTC health registry until 2007 — six years after the terror attack.

Former city Health Commissioner Neal Cohen inexcusably failed to issue Trade Center medical guidelines.

They rallied for New York and America in the terrible hours after the World Trade Center collapsed - and ever since, thousands have paid with their health. Some have given their lives.

Forty-thousand-strong, they labored at Ground Zero under miserable conditions in a time of crisis, working 10 and 12 hours a day to search for the lost, extinguish underground fires and haul off 2 million tons of rubble. As a direct result, well over 12,000 are sick today, having suffered lasting damage to their respiratory systems.

In increasing numbers, they are the forgotten victims of 9/11. The toll has risen steadily over the past five years, yet no one in power - not Gov. Pataki, not Mayor Bloomberg, not the state and city health commissioners, not the U.S. government - has acknowledged the epidemic's scope, much less confronted it for the public health disaster that it is.

They cough.

They wheeze.

Their heads and faces pound with the pressure of swollen sinuses.

They lose their breath with minor exertion.

They suffer the suffocation of asthma and diseases that attack the very tissues of their lungs.

They endure acid reflux, a painful indigestion that never goes away.

They are haunted by the mental and emotional traumas of having witnessed horror.

Many are too disabled to work.

And some have died. There is overwhelming evidence that at least four Ground Zero responders - a firefighter, two police officers and an Emergency Medical Service paramedic - suffered fatal illnesses as a consequence of inhaling the airborne poisons that were loosed when the pulverized remains of the twin towers erupted seismically into the sky.

The measure of how New York and Washington failed the 9/11 responders starts with the fact that after a half-decade, no one has a grip on the scope of the suffering. The known census of the ill starts at more than 12,000 people who have been monitored or treated in the two primary medical services for Ground Zero workers, one run by the Fire Department, the other by the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program based at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

In the Fire Department, more than 600 firefighters - soon to be 700 - have been forced into retirement because they were deemed permanently disabled. Most suffer from asthma that disqualifies them from battling blazes. And fully 25% of the FDNY's active fire and EMS forces have lung-related conditions - more than 3,400 people in all.

At the Mount Sinai program, where physicians are monitoring the health of 16,000 cops, construction workers and others, Dr. Stephen Levin estimates that from half to two-thirds of the patients are similarly sick. That works out to at least 8,000 people and pushes the tally of the ill over 12,000.

The count goes up from there among the thousands of responders who are not enrolled in either program. How far up, nobody knows. But doctors are all too aware that the general prognosis for the sick is not good. While treatment has helped many to improve, few have regained their health.

"I think that probably a few more years down the road we will find that a relatively small proportion will be able to say, 'I am as good as I was back on Sept. 10, 2001,' " said Levin.

Typical is the case of NYPD Officer Steven Mayfield, who logged more than 400 hours at the perimeter of what became known as The Pile and suffers from sarcoidosis, a disease that scars the tissues of the lungs; shortness of breath; chronic sinusitis, and sleep apnea. "My lungs are damaged; they will never be the same," said Mayfield, 44.

Still more frightening: Serious new conditions may soon begin to emerge. Top pulmonary specialists say lung-scarring diseases and tumors generally begin to show up five to 20 years after toxic exposure, a time frame that's about to begin.

Some responders have received excellent care. The FDNY's medical service, led by Dr. Kerry Kelly and Dr. David Prezant, has delivered first-rate monitoring and treatment to more than 13,700 active and retired firefighters and EMS workers. But the rest of the Ground Zero responders have not been nearly so well served.

Most of them - from police to construction workers - are eligible for monitoring and treatment through the Mount Sinai program. The center's leaders, Dr. Robin Herbert and Levin, are among the world's experts in occupational health, but they have been badly hobbled by a lack of funding. The wait for treatment is four months, and doctors are able to schedule followup appointments less frequently than they would like.

In even worse shape are an estimated 10,000 federal workers who participated in the Ground Zero effort. The government promised to create a program specially for them, and then reneged. The federal workers are on their own.

The big lie
The betrayal of the 9/11 responders began with a lie that reverberates to this day.

When the twin towers collapsed, the remains of 200,000 tons of steel, 600,000 square feet of window glass, 5,000 tons of asbestos, 12,000 miles of electric cables and 425,000 cubic yards of concrete crashed to the ground and then spewed into the air. To the mix were added 24,000 gallons of jet fuel burning as hot as 1,300 degrees.

At The Pile, the air was "darker than a sealed vault and thicker than pea soup," in the description of one deputy fire chief. But officials pronounced that would-be rescuers were safe.

As then-U.S. Environmental Protection Administrator Christie Whitman put it in a press release on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2001: "Monitoring and sampling conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday have been very reassuring about potential exposure of rescue workers and the public to environmental contamination." Two weeks later, Mayor Rudy Giuliani said rescue workers faced minimal risk because the air quality was "safe and acceptable."

In truth, those who rushed to the scene were at the epicenter of "the largest acute environmental disaster that ever has befallen New York City," according to a 2004 analysis by several dozen scientists in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. In truth, every breath at Ground Zero was noxious to health and even to life.

A cauldron of toxins
The Environmental Health Perspectives report cited the presence in the air of highly alkaline concrete dust, glass fibers and cancer-causing asbestos, as well as particles of lead, chlorine, antimony, aluminum, titanium, magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium. The flaming fuel and burning plastics released carcinogens including dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls and polychlorinated furans.

Almost immediately, the toxic cloud began burning the lungs of the responders because most were not provided with, or did not wear, proper respiratory protection. Hundreds soon started coughing up pebbles and black or gray phlegm, and, for most, symptoms steadily worsened.

The false assurance of safety and the failure to adequately equip the workers has opened the city and its construction contractors to potentially huge liability. More than 8,000 responders have joined a lawsuit that has targeted a $1 billion federal insurance fund established after 9/11 to facilitate the recovery work. So the lawyers, not the doctors, have taken charge.

The city's chief attorney, Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, says, for example, that he is confident Ground Zero workers have been provided with appropriate medical attention and disability benefits. This may be wise to argue for the purpose of limiting liability, but it's destructive denial as a public health strategy.

Never did the state health commissioner, Dr. Antonia Novello, or the city health commissioner - Dr. Neal Cohen in the days immediately after 9/11, Dr. Thomas Frieden since January 2002 - step forward to lead a crusade that marshaled the resources of New York's vast public and private health systems.

Nor did Cohen or Frieden ever issue protocols advising physicians on recognizing and treating syndromes generated by World Trade Center exposures. Inexcusably, Cohen failed to disseminate advisories at a time when the Giuliani administration was declaring all was safe at The Pile, and Frieden's staff is only now getting around to completing its first bulletin.

Nor did the Police Department establish a system for tracking the prevalence of illnesses such as asthma among the thousands of cops who worked at The Pile. The police surgeon, Dr. Eli Kleinman, says he believes there hasn't been more than "a blip" in lung-related ailments - which would be a truly remarkable outcome compared with the 25% of the Fire Department that is counted as having 9/11 aftereffects.

The city Health Department in 2003 did establish the World Trade Center Health Registry, inviting people who worked at Ground Zero or lived in the area to report their health conditions. More than 71,000 provided information, and the department is in the midst of conducting a followup survey. The data are likely to prove highly valuable when the department finishes crunching the numbers. But that milestone is planned for next year, astonishingly long to wait when the unaddressed needs of the sick have been building since 2001 and are so large at this very moment.

Frustrated by the response to 9/11-related illnesses, Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Vito Fossella in February won the appointment of Dr. John Howard as federal Ground Zero health coordinator. Howard's valuable presence should be taken as a rebuke to all the local officials who allowed this health crisis to fester for half a decade.

But Howard is hardly the solution. As director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the doctor has a schedule that is quite booked. Nor does Howard have the capacity to do a great deal. He has no special budget and no special staff, and he can only study and recommend. Far more is required.

A cry for leadership
What's urgently needed is dynamic leadership by someone with the muscle and brains to tackle the World Trade Center health crisis on all fronts - medical, legal, social, political and more. The person who best fits the bill today is Michael Bloomberg.

As the 108th mayor of the City of New York, Bloomberg commands vast municipal resources, occupies an unparalleled bully pulpit from which to prod other levels of government, has a deep, long-standing commitment to public health and, most important, knows how to get things done. And it is simply inconceivable that he would not act were he to inquire deeply into the facts.

Were the mayor to ask Herbert and Levin, he would find out that Mount Sinai's doctors succeeded only this year in getting the okay for the first federal funding for treatment, that patients frequently arrive at Mount Sinai after being misdiagnosed or improperly treated by family physicians and that Ground Zero responders are seeking help in increasing numbers because they haven't gotten better with time or have developed new illnesses.

Were the mayor to speak with Dr. Alison Geyh, assistant professor at his namesake Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, he would learn that a program aimed at tracking the health of Ground Zero's "invisible" recovery workers - heavy equipment operators, sanitation workers, truck drivers and laborers - stopped for lack of money after less than two years.

"It took a year to get this labor-intensive project up and running, only to have its funding stream cut off 18 months later," said Geyh. "It's been frustrating and a lost opportunity."

Were the mayor to talk to Kelly and Prezant at the Fire Department, or to Herbert and Levin at Mount Sinai, or to their colleague Dr. Alvin Teirstein, an eminent lung specialist, he would hear calls for long-term monitoring for cancers and other diseases that could emerge among Trade Center responders in the coming years.

And, were the mayor to spend time with any of the 8,000 responders who are suing the city, he would hear the voices of fury and fear. Their anger is well grounded in that they were lied to, but it is far less clear that each of their illnesses, among them brain and blood cancers, is attributable to Ground Zero exposures. Still, lacking authoritative, trustworthy information, they live under agonizing shadows.

It is vitally important for Bloomberg to take charge.

To take the full measure of this growing epidemic.

To devise appropriately funded treatment programs so that all 9/11 responders have access to the quality of care provided to firefighters.

To establish monitoring systems that can detect swiftly the emergence of new diseases or improved treatments.

To create a clearinghouse that would inform workers and physicians about illnesses and proper treatments, and keep them up to date on the latest developments.

To begin to acknowledge that service after 9/11 did, in fact, cause fatalities, rather than let city officials keep insisting that there is no absolute, total scientific proof that anyone died from illnesses contracted at Ground Zero.

To galvanize the federal government into supporting long-term monitoring and treatment programs.

To review disability and pension benefits afforded to 9/11 responders with an eye on eliminating gross inequities. While firefighters and cops have been granted extremely liberal, even overly liberal, line-of-duty retirement benefits, thousands are trapped in a workers' compensation system that is ill-suited to treat them fairly.

When the call came, the instant the first hijacked jet knifed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, the Ground Zero recovery army surged to the aid of their fellow human beings without a thought as to their own safety. After the buildings collapsed, they worked long and hard to bring New York back from the worst attack on U.S. soil. But they were lied to and they were badly equipped, and then, when they became sick, as many physicians predicted they would, far too many were abandoned.

Decency demands better.

07-25-2006, 05:39 AM
Anyone who was there did not need an EPA evaluation to know that the shit in the air was bad news. I wore a respirator almost the entire time I was there. The brief moments that I didn't resulted in an almost immediate headache, and violent coughing. By the time I left, it sounded like a tuberculosis ward. I encouraged people right around me to wear them. Some did, alot did not. I had my own with me from my van, but I understand that if you wanted one, they had an adequate supply. It was very uncomfortable to wear, (hot, itchy) so alot of people didn't brcause the EPA doctored their results. Looking back, I guess they needed that evidence out of there in a hurry.

07-26-2006, 09:29 AM
9/11 cash for what?
City uses fed millions to fight sick WTC workers, attorney says



The city is using a big slice of the $1 billion it got from the feds post-9/11 to fight first responders who claim they got sick on the site, a lawyer who is suing the city charged yesterday.

David Worby, who is waging a suit on behalf of 8,000 WTC responders and their survivors, said $20 million has been "spent on city lawyers to deny the claims of cops, firefighters and others who were sickened."

"That money should be used to help these people," he said. "Take $100 million from the billion, Mr. Mayor, and set up a proper registry" to monitor the health of those who toiled at Ground Zero.

There was no immediate response to Worby's accusation from Mayor Bloomberg, but the city contends it is allowed to tap funds from the World Trade Center Captive Insurance Company to defend itself against claims. The federally funded entity was set up after the 9/11 attacks because no commercial insurance company would take on the risk.

Bloomberg promised to look into whether the city stiffed its 9/11 heroes after being prodded to do so by hard-hitting Daily News editorials that described the plight of 12,000 ailing Ground Zero workers.

So far, he hasn't acknowledged that the deaths of at least four first responders - and the illnesses of thousands more - were directly related to their toiling amid the toxins of Ground Zero.

Yesterday, Gov. Pataki also vowed to do right by the ailing workers.

"I believe that the reporting by the Daily News is important," he said. "I have directed all relevant state agencies to follow up on these reports and ensure that critical treatment and compensation for injuries suffered as a result of their involvement in the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts is accessible to each and every one of our heroes."

Worby wasn't the only City Hall critic yesterday who accused Bloomberg of pinching pennies while Ground Zero heroes are suffering.

Peter Meringolo, president of the Correction Captains' Association and chairman of the state Public Employee Conference, said the city is sitting on a $5 billion surplus and some of that dough should be used to help 9/11's forgotten victims.

"I really don't want to hear it's not in the city budget because that's nonsense," Meringolo said. "The mayor talks about productivity. If risking your life after 9/11 isn't productivity, I don't know what is."

"Currently there are also over 100 firefighters that FDNY doctors have deemed as too permanently disabled to continue working as firefighters, yet the city won't allow them to retire," added Steve Cassidy, head of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. "If we are not going to take care of the rescuers, what type of message does that send?"

07-28-2006, 10:49 AM
'Secret' 9/11 lies?
2002 exec order let EPA bury info on air hazards



With New Yorkers already fuming about reports that the feds downplayed the danger of Ground Zero dust, the White House gave EPA chief Christie Whitman the power to bury embarrassing documents by classifying them "secret."

"I hereby designate the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to classify information originally as 'Secret,'" states the executive order, which was signed by President Bush on May 6, 2002.

Although the stated reason for Bush's directive is to keep "national security information" from falling into enemy hands, advocates for thousands of ailing Ground Zero heroes are convinced there's a more sinister motive.

"I think the rationale behind this was to not let people know what they were potentially exposed to," said Joel Kupferman of the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project. "They're using the secrecy thing to cover up their malfeasance and past deceptions."

In a series of damning editorials, the Daily News has taken the EPA and Whitman to task for downplaying the dangers posed by toxic air and accused Mayor Bloomberg and city officials of stiffing 12,000 ailing Ground Zero workers.

Bloomberg has promised to look into the claims of the sick cops, firefighters and other Ground Zero heroes. But he has refused to acknowledge that the deaths of at least four first responders - and the illnesses of thousands more - were directly related to their toiling in The Pit.

Whitman, who resigned as EPA chief in May 2003, could not be reached for comment yesterday. In a Newsweek interview that year, she said the White House never told her to lie about the air quality.

However, Whitman conceded that she did not object when words of caution were edited out of her public statements.

"We didn't want to scare people," she said.

Asked last night about the executive order, a White House spokeswoman said she would have a response today.

Two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Whitman declared, "There appear to be no significant levels of asbestos dust in the air in New York City."

Then on Sept. 21, Whitman reported that "a host of potential contaminants are either not detectable" or at a level the EPA considered safe.

But on Oct. 26, 2001, the Daily News slapped "Toxic Zone" on the front page and warned that "toxic chemicals and metals" were poisoning lower Manhattan.

Mike McCormick, the medic who found the now-famous tattered Ground Zero flag - and who suffers from a host of respiratory problems - said he never believed the EPA's claims.

08-01-2006, 03:09 PM
Study: Major lung damage for 9/11 first-responders


August 1, 2006, 1:05 PM EDT

First-responders exposed to toxic dust after the attack on the World Trade Center lost lung capacity equal to 12 years of aging, a new medical study published Tuesday said.

The study analyzed the lung function of 12,079 firefighters and rescue workers over five years time and found that the earlier firefighters responded on 9/11, the worse their breathing problems.

Rescue workers who arrived on the first day had more frequent and severe breathing problems than those who arrived on the third day, according to the study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Breathing masks and other equipment did not do much to prevent lung damage, researchers at Montefiore Medical Center found.

"Initial lack of adequate equipment and subsequent compliance problems diminished any protective impact," said the study¹s author Gisela Banauch.

An editorial that accompanied the study said better protective equipment would have gone a long way to mitigate the damage caused by toxic dust.

"Let us be better prepared for future disasters in many ways, including institution of plans to protect emergency responders from unnecessary exposure to irritant dusts," wrote Dr. John R. Balmes of the University of California.

08-16-2006, 09:45 AM

http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/9_11_nuns_dying_plea__autopsy_my_body_to_aid_wtc_a iling_regionalnews_susan_edelman________in_new_yor k_and___julie_stapen_in_aiken__s_c_.htm

By SUSAN EDELMAN in New York and JULIE STAPEN in Aiken, S.C.

August 13, 2006 -- A nun who spent six months blessing human remains in the rubble at Ground Zero says she is dying of lung disease and wants her body autopsied to prove that she and her fellow 9/11 workers were sickened by the poisonous air at the site.

Sister Cindy Mahoney, 54, summoned David Worby, the lawyer representing thousands of sick Ground Zero workers, to her Aiken, S.C., hospice last week and requested that he act as her guardian and fulfill her dying wish by overseeing her autopsy after she's gone. "I can still do God's work," Mahoney said Thursday in Aiken, her hometown, where she lay connected to oxygen tubes.

She was surprisingly upbeat, even laughing at jokes - which reduced her to violent coughing.

"She's an angel," Worby told The Post after meeting with Mahoney privately. He said she hugged him warmly, cried, and told him how her previous pleas for help had gone unheeded.

"The government should help these people - not leave them to die like I'm dying," she told Worby.

Mahoney, a former emergency-medical technician, dashed from a Midtown convent and hopped on an ambulance to Ground Zero after the first plane hit the World Trade Center's north tower on 9/11. She stayed there through the night. She then donned her habit and spent nearly every day for the next six months as a volunteer with the American Red Cross and the city medical examiner's fatality team.

Officials said Mahoney was a chaplain at Ground Zero and at Pier 94, where she consoled relatives of those killed. She was photographed for People magazine that October, and told the publication, "Some people just want to hold our hand."

According to Worby, she now suffers from asthma, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease - all severe illnesses that have plagued WTC workers.

Only after spending weeks at Ground Zero was she was given a respiratory mask, Worby said, but she was not told how to use it. And because her job was to pray and talk to people, "she kept taking it off."

Mahoney also suffers post-traumatic stress syndrome, Worby and others said. She witnessed WTC victims burn or jump to their deaths, and prayed over countless human remains.

Unaware until recently that many others who worked at Ground Zero were sick, Mahoney last week tracked down Worby, an outspoken advocate for the health of 9/11 workers. He filed the first lawsuit for a leukemia-stricken NYPD detective who served at Ground Zero and the Fresh Kills landfill, a case that mushroomed into a massive class action with 8,000 WTC workers.

If Mahoney joins the suit, she would leave any money to those in need, she said.

During the meeting, a priest friend, Father Scotty, gave Mahoney Communion.

"She would do it all again. She would give her life again," the priest said. "She still believes God's mission for her is to help, through her death, the other 40,000 rescue and recovery workers get medical care, testing and coverage," Worby said. "She feels that anyone who gave their lives for others should be taken care of better than she's been taken care of."

Mahoney is staying in an old, stuffy house on a semi-rural road outside Aiken. The place belongs to friends who took her in and receive a "hospice" stipend from Medicaid to house and feed her.

Mahoney's closest companions, her 24-year-old niece and her niece's 3-year-old son, sleep on a mattress on the floor in the same cramped room. "They're my reason for living,'" she said.

Mahoney, a nonsmoker, was an active scuba diver before 9/11, Worby said. The Guillain-Barré syndrome she suffered three decades ago flared up again last year. Worby asserts that heavy metals at Ground Zero caused immune deficiencies that triggered such neurological disorders.

Mahoney was a junior nun with the Order of St. Helena in Augusta, S.C., an Episcopal sisterhood, when she was transferred to New York City not long before 9/11, she said. She lived at the order's modest East 28th Street convent, which runs a novitiate, a program for beginning nuns who have not yet taken final vows.

When Mahoney heard the news about the first plane hitting, she asked another nun, "What's the Twin Towers?" Worby said.

A sister at the convent told The Post that Mahoney ran out the door that day. "She told me she was going down to help," the nun said. Mahoney threw on an old EMT uniform from her former post with a rescue squad in South Carolina, and raced four blocks to Bellevue Hospital to volunteer. Warned that many people were dying, she said, she jumped into an ambulance en route to the scene, using a marker to write her name, address and phone number on her arm as identification.

When the first tower fell, she hid behind a tombstone at St. Paul's Church across the street. "The air was so thick and hot I could not breathe . . . It felt to me that the sky was falling. I thought I would die," she wrote in an account of the day.

When the second tower fell, "two firefighters and I were able to get underneath a firetruck, and they shared their air with me."

In an Oct. 12, 2001, e-mail to a friend back home, Mahoney described her work at the morgue: "Sometimes I pray over a body bag that has a firefighter's complete uniform from his helmet to his jacket . . . with nothing visible inside. It gets very difficult."

She went back and forth into the pit to "bless and say a prayer for the fallen and for those who have found them," she wrote. "I am grateful I can work in this war zone and be a witness to the heroism I see every single day."

She added, "But when I get home, I do have a hard time. What I've seen has been challenging, but what will stay with me forever is the smell. It is like nothing I have ever experienced in my life."

Ellen Borakove, a city medical examiner's spokeswoman, said clergy of many faiths flocked to temporary morgues around Ground Zero and to the main morgue next to Bellevue. "Spiritual people were always allowed to bless any human remains we had. They were blessing remains as they were found at Ground Zero as well," Borakove said.

Mahoney wrote her friend, "I think I have changed inside - not bitter or angry or anything like that, just more centered and having a better understanding of my ministry and that I am committed to whatever God calls me to do."

Months later, feeling ill and distraught, she was told by a counselor that "it was a good time to start taking care of myself," she said. Mahoney left Ground Zero on Feb. 11, 2002. But she found little sympathy or support back at the Manhattan convent, she told the Aiken Standard in a front-page story in February. She left the convent that July. Over the next two years, her health worsened. Mahoney quit jobs in an animal shelter, a store and an office. "I ended up sleeping in my car because I had nowhere else to go," she told the paper.

A friend accompanied Mahoney on a train trip to Manhattan about six months ago to register with the WTC Medical Monitoring Program at Mount Sinai Hospital. She collapsed while getting a lung test and was sent to the emergency room, Worby said.

Now that Mahoney says she is dying, she wants to make a difference. "She wants her death to have meaning, so this tragedy won't happen to other rescue and recovery workers in future disasters," Worby said. "I will not let her die in vain."

08-25-2006, 08:45 AM
E.P.A. Whistle-Blower Says U.S. Hid 9/11 Dust Danger


Published: August 25, 2006

A senior scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency has accused the agency of relying on misleading data about the health hazards of World Trade Center dust.

The scientist, who has been sharply critical of the agency in the past, claimed in a letter to members of the New York Congressional delegation this week that test reports in 2002 and 2003 distorted the alkalinity, or pH level, of the dust released when the twin towers collapsed, downplaying its danger.

Some doctors suspect that the highly alkaline nature of the dust contributed to the variety of ailments that recovery workers and residents have complained of since the attack.

Tests of the gray-brown dust conducted by scientists at the United States Geological Survey a few months after the attack found that the dust was highly alkaline, in some instances as caustic or corrosive as drain cleaner, and capable of causing severe irritation and burns.

The tests that are being challenged by the E.P.A. scientist were conducted by independent scientists at New York University. Those tests also indicated that larger particles of dust were highly alkaline. But they found that smaller dust particles — those most likely to reach into the lower airways of the lungs, where they could cause serious illnesses — were not alkaline and caustic.

The geological survey’s tests did not differentiate the dust by particle size.

A spokeswoman for the agency, Mary Mears, said in a statement that the E.P.A. stood behind its work on ground zero environmental hazards, as did the N.Y.U. scientists. The scientist making the complaint, Cate Jenkins, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry and works in the agency’s office of solid waste and emergency response, said the test results helped the E.P.A. avoid legal liability. Residents of Lower Manhattan have sued the agency in federal court, claiming that it bungled the cleanup.

Dr. Jenkins said the test reports had a costly health effect, contributing “to emergency personnel and citizens not taking adequate precautions to prevent exposures.”

In her statement, Ms. Mears distanced the agency from Dr. Jenkins, who has worked for the E.P.A. since 1979 and has been in conflict with the agency for years over her whistle-blowing activities.

“Dr. Jenkins has not participated in any aspect of the E.P.A.’s work on the World Trade Center,” the statement said. “This appears to be a disagreement about scientific methods and not the validity of the results.” The New York University scientists, who were not directly financed by the E.P.A., denied being pressured by the agency and said Dr. Jenkins’s claims were without scientific merit.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat whose district includes Lower Manhattan, received a copy of Dr. Jenkins’s letter, and he said that he intended to look into the dispute.

“When a scientist who works for the E.P.A. makes serious allegations about the aftermath of 9/11, they must be examined carefully,” he said.

The two scientists named in Dr. Jenkins’s letter are faculty members of the New York University School of Medicine who collected dust samples from ground zero in the days after the attack.

One of them, George D. Thurston, is director of N.Y.U.’s Community Outreach and Education Program. He has helped inform Lower Manhattan workers and residents about health hazards related to the terror attack.

Testifying before a Senate committee in 2002, Dr. Thurston said that more than 95 percent of the dust was composed of comparatively large particles that were highly alkaline. He said that although they were irritating, those dust particles did not pose serious health concerns for residents because they were too large to enter the lower airways of the lungs.

Smaller particles, those less than 2.5 microns in size, are far more dangerous because they can be easily breathed deep into the lungs. Dr. Thurston told the Senate committee that tests showed those particles to be pH neutral, and therefore of less concern.

A year later, the same scientists, in conjunction with the E.P.A., among others, published a report in Environmental Health Perspectives, a professional journal, in which they described a new round of tests in which they found the smallest dust particles to have pH values from 8.8 to 10, which made them alkaline.

To keep the particles in the samples from congealing, however, they used a standard process that involved freeze-drying and soaking the samples in saline. When pH tested, the particles were then found to be “near neutral.”

Lung-Chi Chen, the second N.Y.U. scientist, an inhalation toxicologist with N.Y.U.’s School of Medicine who was responsible for the testing, said the saline could not have diluted the alkalinity of the samples so greatly that they went from alkaline to neutral.

“We were not trying to mislead anyone,” he said.

Dr. Chen said the samples tested prior to Dr. Thurston’s 2002 Senate testimony and those in the 2003 report came from different batches of dust, which probably accounted for the difference in their alkalinity.

He said he was not surprised that the smaller dust particles had characteristics and alkalinity levels different from the larger ones. He explained that the larger particles were made up of building materials that had been pulverized by the pressure of the imploding towers. The smallest particles, he said, were probably a combination of crushed material and the combustion byproducts produced by high-temperature fires that burned for weeks.

08-25-2006, 08:48 AM
Claim: 9/11 dust tests misleading


WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- An Environmental Protection Agency scientist told the New York congressional delegation that the agency used misleading data about World Trade Center dust.

Cate Jenkins, a senior scientist at the agency's office of solid waste and emergency response, said in a letter to the delegation that reports on tests from 2002 and 2003 misrepresented the alkaline nature, or pH level, of the dust, The New York Times reported Friday.

Some doctors have theorized that many illnesses developed by recovery workers and nearby residents were contributed to by highly alkaline dust from the fallen towers, the Times said.

Jenkins claimed in the letter that misleading test reports had contributed "to emergency personnel and citizens not taking adequate precautions to prevent exposures."

However, agency spokeswoman Mary Mears said the EPA stands by its work.

"Dr. Jenkins has not participated in any aspect of the EPA's work on the World Trade Center," the statement said. "This appears to be a disagreement about scientific methods and not the validity of the results."

08-25-2006, 03:01 PM
EPA scientist says agency hid dangers at ground zero from first responders, others


Brian Beutler
Published: Friday August 25, 2006

A scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency has written a letter to Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and other members of the New York congressional delegation blasting the EPA for hiding dangerous toxins from Ground Zero workers in the aftermath of 9/11, RAW STORY has learned.

The letter, written by Dr. Cate Jenkins and obtained by RAW STORY, claims that EPA-funded research on the toxicity of breathable alkaline dust at the site “falsified pH results” to make the substance appear benign, when it was, in reality, corrosive enough to cause first responders and other workers in lower Manhattan to later lose pulmonary functions and, in some cases, to die.

Jenkins writes:

"These falsifications directly contributed not only to emergency personnel and citizens not taking adequate precautions to prevent exposures, but also prevented the subsequent correct diagnosis of the causative agents responsible for the pulmonary symptoms. Thus, appropriate treatment was prevented or misdirected, and loss of life and permanent disability undoubtedly resulted."

Jenkins has loudly criticized the office in the past for—among other malfeasances—improperly handling evidence that the World Trade Center disaster site was a major health hazard.

The letter, as acquired by RAW STORY, follows:


09-03-2006, 11:37 PM
$400M for lawyers?
The sick and dying of 9/11 deserve better



Lawyer David Worby champions the cause of Ground Zero responders - with the potential of earning big fees.

Carpenter James Nolan rushed to help on 9/11. Now he struggles to breathe and is among thousands who have been compelled to figh in court for compensation.

Within weeks of 9/11, it was already clear to New York officials that Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers were serving under such hazardous conditions that the city and its cleanup contractors were likely to face more than $2 billion in damage claims.

As 40,000 firefighters, cops, construction workers and others labored amid the caustic dust and carcinogens released by the World Trade Center collapse, consultants retained by the Law Department predicted that responders would wind up seeking compensation for injuries stemming from exposure to toxins, including asbestos.

The forecast, which surfaced recently in court papers, has proven tragically accurate. As is by now well-known, thousands of the men and women who helped bring New York back from tragedy were sickened. The toxic cloud that shrouded The Pile seared their airways and scarred their lungs, bringing debilitation and, in the worst cases, death.

They are owed.

And many are being victimized yet again.

Demanding compensation from the city and the major construction companies called in to dismantle the rubble, more than 8,000 people have enlisted to join a mass lawsuit that is mushrooming into a monumental legal ripoff that could extend for decades.

At issue is who, if anyone, should be entitled to a share of $1 billion in federal money that was set aside by Congress to insulate the city and the contractors against liability. But the warring in court is so intense and tangled that high-priced lawyers could siphon up to $400 million away from the forgotten victims of 9/11 in legal fees.

That math is obscene: All those responders get a shot - someday, long in the future - at dividing, maybe, $600 million, while a couple dozen attorneys reap an amount that's almost as large. Correction, the math is not obscene; it's sinful.

As a matter of justice, those who were sickened at Ground Zero should not have to fight this hard for compensation, nor should they have to wait years for payment. They deserve the overwhelming share of the available monies; the trial lawyers on both sides of the table don't.

There's a better way. The process of apportioning financial restitution should be removed from court, ideally through no-fault payments. Proof of an injury stemming from Ground Zero service should trigger the issuance of a check, with the amount governed by clear guidelines.

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, administered by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, used such a system with great success to distribute $6 billion to the survivors of 2,880 people killed in the terror attack and $1billion to 2,680 people who were injured. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, the New York congressional delegation, Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg must now join forces to push Congress to reauthorize the fund in order to take care of people who were left out only because their illnesses emerged too late for them to file claims.

A Feinberg-like compensation fund is the surest way to efficiently provide reasonable payment to people who were hurt because they acted with valor, as they were asked to. Among that legion are James Nolan and Michael Valentin.

Nolan, 41, a Local 608 carpenter, rushed to Ground Zero on the night of 9/11 with shovels, picks and seven cases of bottled water. In the thick of the toxic cloud, he searched for bodies and he "burned steel" to perform demolition. He was there for almost two weeks straight and then shifted to carpentry work at the site for the better part of a year.

Two months in, Nolan developed what's now known as World Trade Center cough and the acid reflux that's common among responders. Then came asthma, and the skin that peels from his hands, and an oversize liver, and gasping for air. He weeps when recounting his experience. "I get up in the morning and I feel like I am 80 years old," said Nolan, who struggles to work because without a job he has no health insurance.

Valentin, an NYPD detective, got to Ground Zero on the afternoon of 9/11. "It looked like winter out, like dust devils all over the place," he said. He also recalled "seeing fluorescent green smoke, the most beautiful green you could see. It was really eerie."

Every day for two months, Valentin, now 41, worked a bucket brigade that searched for body parts, checked nearby properties for human remains and performed perimeter security. His only respiratory protection was an American flag bandanna purchased by his wife.

After a few months, Valentin began coughing up blood, got acid reflux, had numbing in his hands and suffered night sweats. His lung capacity began to drop, he developed a mass the size of a lemon outside his lungs and the lining of his lungs began to thicken. He breathes with pain, depends on 10 medications and uses a nebulizer every three or four hours.

Michael Valentin is owed.

James Nolan is owed.

Many thousands more are owed.

Congress and President Bush must be made to understand the terrible and growing toll that was inflicted by the attack on America, and they must be shown the gross inequities in how responders have been treated. Through the 9/11 fund, Feinberg wrote checks to almost 2,700 Ground Zero workers who came down with respiratory conditions like those that now afflict thousands. But he went out of business before the scope of the epidemic began to emerge.

Quite likely, Washington will not be immediately receptive to a new compensation fund. There would have to be an open-ended commitment to help responders if and when it's proven that Ground Zero exposures are producing diseases like cancers, as many medical experts predict will happen in the coming decades. And Congress would have to cap the liability of the major builders, such as Bovis Lend Lease and Tully Construction, that threw themselves into the cleanup out of patriotism, not out of profit. The long-term purpose for protecting these companies is simple: American businesses will be a lot less likely to respond with similar vigor to another terror disaster if bankruptcy will be the reward.

Should Congress refuse to create a compensation fund, Bloomberg and Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo will have to act independently to remove the claims of the forgotten victims of 9/11 from the courts. No less an authority than Feinberg supports this approach.

"The city has over a billion dollars sitting in the bank, just sitting there," Feinberg said. "Why not replicate the 9/11 fund on a local basis to compensate these 8,000 people? Isn't the answer to design a system cooperatively that compensates eligible victims, denies those who can't meet the minimum requirements and puts some money aside for future illnesses as they arise?"

Legally, this may be easier said than done, because Congress placed the money in the WTC Captive Insurance Co., a special entity that is supposed to defend the city and 140 companies from liability. And there is no guarantee that $1 billion would cover all claims that may arise. Still, compensating people with proven Ground Zero-related illnesses through arbitration would be a lot more efficient and dignified - and a lot less costly - than waging, literally, 8,000 individual lawsuits in a war without end.

In one battlefield trench, trial lawyers David Worby and Paul Napoli represent the mass of people who allege they suffered respiratory ailments from inhaling the toxic cloud of 9/11, are afraid they are going to become ill, or believe they contracted cancers, such as leukemia and malignancies of the brain and kidney, at Ground Zero. Worby and Napoli argue that the city and contractors should be held liable because the workers were placed in unsafe conditions in violation of labor laws.

Worby recognized the emerging Ground Zero health crisis early on, beginning with a chance encounter in 2003 with NYPD Detectives John Walcott and Richard Volpe, partners who had searched for survivors at Ground Zero. Walcott was suffering with leukemia and Volpe with kidney disease, sicknesses they attributed to toxic exposure.

The face and voice of the suit, Worby mixes zeal for winning treatment for the ill, including Nolan and Valentin, with assertions that an unprecedented combination of carcinogens, cancer accelerants and immunosuppressants has caused malignancies to develop far faster than medicine has ever seen before. There is no scientific proof for such a theory, and it is dismissed out of hand by many experts.

If Worby is the mouth of the court action, Napoli is the muscle. His firm invests millions of dollars waging mass suits against the likes of, say, a major drug company, essentially gambling on winning big. After a loss, he gets nothing. After a win, he stands to collect up to a third of any settlement.

With $1 billion up for grabs, Worby and Napoli are eying a cut of as much as $333 million - enough, Worby said, "to make some people think about buying a Gulfstream" private jet. For his part, Napoli said that after paying expenses, such as lawyers' salaries and office overhead, the typical profit margin in a mass-tort suit is about 25%. In this case, that would be more than $80 million. Neither would discuss specific arrangements with clients.

In the opposite trench are Cardozo, the city's chief lawyer, and the hired guns who represent the Captive Insurance Co. They have asked Manhattan Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the city and its agents are, by law, immune from liability because they were responding to an emergency.

Hellerstein and appeals courts will decide the matter - but whatever the outcome, the forgotten victims of 9/11 will be the losers. On the one hand, the judges could throw the case out of court, leaving the responders at the mercy of Congress. On the other hand, the judges could let all or some of the suits proceed - draining ever more of the available monies into the lawyers' bank accounts.

Just getting this far, the insurance company has spent more than $28 million on attorney fees, and it is perfectly plausible that the costs could eventually rise to $100 million. In fact, Ernst & Young, the accounting and consulting company, projected in 2001 that the bills could hit $267 million.

There, again, is that sinful math: As much as a third of a billion dollars to the responders' legal teams, at least $100 million and perhaps much more to the city's battery - and a prayer for one eight-thousandth of whatever is left to each responder in the suit. And that leaves out others who have not joined the case or who may become sick in the future.

Now, as the lawyers like to say, let's stipulate: Every one of the attorneys is representing clients honorably and with passion, and each of their positions has powerful merit. But the perverse result is Pyrrhic combat among parties - the workers, the city, the companies - who rushed nobly into action five years ago. And the forgotten victims of 9/11 are again bearing the brunt, this time in a fleecing of epic proportions. It must be stopped.

They must be protected.

They are owed.

09-03-2006, 11:41 PM
9/11 health problems widen


September 4, 2006

Mariama James is neither a firefighter nor an emergency medical technician, and after the World Trade Center attacks, she spent no time working on the pile as a volunteer responder. The 35-year-old mother of three is a bookkeeper who lives at 90 Gold St., four blocks east and one block north of Ground Zero.

But right after Sept. 11, when a thick layer of dust from downtown blew in through her windows, James, who was eight months pregnant at the time, said she started feeling pain in the middle of her chest. Then came the cysts that appeared from her face to her groin, and "really horrific" allergies and respiratory problems that she said affect both her and her children, who are now 14, 20 and 4. She said her husband, who was out of town for months before and after 9/11, suffers from none of these ailments.

Last week, the city's Department of Health issued some long-awaited guidelines to help doctors diagnose and treat Ground Zero-related illnesses. But advocates say the guidelines suggest that only those who had acute and prolonged exposure to conditions at Ground Zero, such as first responders and volunteers, are affected. They say the guidelines ignore a health threat to people who simply live and work in lower Manhattan, and whose homes, schools and workplaces were also contaminated.

"People are hurting and they want medical help," says Kimberly Flynn, co-coordinator of 9/11 Environmental Action, a group that advocates for downtown residents and office workers such as James, who claim health problems from Ground Zero exposure. But Flynn said the medical guidelines read as if the only people whose health is at risk were those who had acute and prolonged exposure at the pile or whose homes or offices were severely damaged and full of dust and debris.

"That is completely misleading," Flynn said.

In past columns, I've called on the city to issue the guidelines, since many Ground Zero responders and volunteers who are now sick were initially misdiagnosed and received the wrong treatment, their doctors say. But while Mount Sinai Medical Center posted medical guidelines on its Web site in early 2002, city health officials say there was no consensus among physicians until now about what illnesses were caused by exposure to the toxic stew at Ground Zero.

The health problems of firefighters, police officers, emergency technicians and volunteers who worked at Ground Zero have received the lion's share of publicity. But the illnesses of people such as Mariama James and her children may be the next big public health problem that city and federal officials will have to address.

"I'm very angry today," said Jonathan Bennett, a spokesman for the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, a private group that works on workplace safety issues.

"It's perfectly reasonable for the guidelines to focus a great deal on the people who had the heaviest exposure, but there's no reason to ignore people who had lighter exposure," Bennett told me.

He said he doubted that a physician who read the guidelines, and then treated a patient who lives on Duane Street who's having problems breathing, would ever suspect there was a link to Ground Zero.

While Bellevue Hospital Center operates a World Trade Center screening and treatment program for lower Manhattan residents and workers, advocates say there should be a medical program right in lower Manhattan, closer to those who might be affected. And there have been repeated calls for the federal government to test the inside of apartment buildings and offices for contaminants that might pose a health threat. After 9/11 the feds cleaned only residences below Canal Street, Bennett said.

By producing the medical guidelines, city officials have finally acknowledged, after years of denial, that the conditions at Ground Zero have made a lot of Ground Zero responders sick, and the full dimensions of that public health problem still aren't known.

But it's time that city and federal officials also recognized the health problems of people like Mariama James and her children, who could be feeling the effects of 9/11 for years to come.

09-05-2006, 08:59 AM
Officials Slow to Hear Claims of 9/11 Illnesses


Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

Dr. John Howard, right, coordinator of federal 9/11 efforts, with Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner.

But for many of the ill and those worried about becoming sick, government actions — coming from officials whom they see as more concerned about the politics of the moment than the health of those who responded to the emergency — are too limited and too late.

The delay in assistance along with a lack of rigorous inquiry into the magnitude of the environmental disaster unleashed that day is all the more disturbing, they say, as the country faces a future in which such disasters could happen again.

Dr. John Howard, who was appointed by the Bush administration in February to coordinate the federal government’s 9/11 health efforts, readily admits that costly delays and missed opportunities may have shattered responders’ trust in the government.

“I can understand the frustration and the anger, and most importantly, the concern about their future,” Dr. Howard said in an interview. “I can’t blame them for thinking, ‘Where were you when we needed you?’ ”

A review of recent federal initiatives reveals a pattern of the government’s not fully delivering what was promised. Dr. Howard’s office, for example, has no full-time staff members assigned to 9/11 health issues. For the first time, money for treatment — $52 million — has been included in the federal budget, but even the officials responsible concede that it is not nearly enough. And only last week did New York City release clinical guidelines that could help doctors properly diagnose 9/11-related illnesses.

“They seem to be running from the people who are sick, not standing with them and helping them,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat who represents parts of Manhattan and Queens and has been critical of federal efforts at ground zero. “And that is just plain wrong.”

One of the thorniest problems, and one reason officials have given for the long delay in responding, is the difficulty of linking the dust and smoke to specific symptoms and diseases. Making a medical diagnosis for illnesses related to toxic substance exposure requires extensive and sophisticated tests. Simply measuring the toxicity of the dust has proved to be controversial.

And state workers’ compensation systems, designed to handle common workplace injuries like broken arms, are not well suited for determining an illness that may take months or years to emerge.

Even so, clinical evidence of a serious health problem surfaced not long after the attack. Initial studies of firefighters found that many had developed “trade center cough,” a stubborn hacking that caused them to cough up soot and dust particles.

A large-scale medical study came out in 2004, when the Mount Sinai Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine reported that more than half of the first 1,138 workers it had examined had serious respiratory problems.

Workers also suffered gastrointestinal problems, acid reflux, asthma and mental stress. (Mount Sinai is scheduled to release a far larger study today, and it is expected to show serious ailments among many more workers.)

Successive studies through the years have found that the health hazards were more persistent than first thought.

A Fire Department study released this year showed that firefighters had suffered a loss in lung capacity in the first year after the attack equal to what they might have lost over 12 years of normal duty. The department has also found that the incidence of sarcoidosis, a serious lung scarring disease, rose to five times the expected rate in the first two years after 9/11.

An initial survey released in April of the 71,437 responders, residents and downtown workers who signed up for the World Trade Center Health Registry, run by the city and the federal government, showed that more than half said that they had experienced new or worsening respiratory problems since 9/11. And a Red Cross survey in May found that two-thirds of the responders and survivors who sought help in coping with emotional distress believe that grief still interferes with their lives.

One death — that of 34-year-old Detective James Zadroga in January — has been formally linked by a coroner’s report to lung disease caused by trade center dust. The families of at least six other responders who died believe those deaths were also linked to toxic substance exposure at ground zero.

Sept. 11 Navigator: Health Resources and Documents When Dr. Howard was appointed a few weeks after Detective Zadroga died, many in the city were relieved to have a federal czar in charge.

But Dr. Howard, who was trained as a pulmonary specialist and is the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, has not assigned a single one of his 1,300 employees to work full time on ground zero medical issues, though about 20 work on such issues part time. And though the institute has a budget of about $285 million, he has not received any additional money to address the complex medical issues involved.

“I’m a czar without a budget,” he said.

Meanwhile, the need for treatment assistance has grown as more people have become ill. While many rescue and recovery workers are covered by their own health insurance, that coverage may become inadequate in the years ahead. Many union workers, for example, can lose their coverage if they become too sick to work, while most illegal immigrants who worked there had no insurance.

Some 16,000 union workers and volunteers have been examined through the screening and monitoring program run by Mount Sinai, which began in 2002 with $11.4 million in federal money and was extended in 2004 for five years with an additional $81 million. (Information about the program is available at www.wtcexams.org (http://www.wtcexams.org).)

But until last year, there was almost no money available for treatment through the screening program. With $9.4 million from the Red Cross, Mount Sinai doctors were able to treat 2,050 responders last year, offering them therapy, medications and medical procedures in some cases.

Ms. Maloney and other members of the New York Congressional delegation, in pushing for more federal aid, succeeded last December in getting the Bush administration to restore $125 million in unused workers’ compensation assistance that it had threatened to take back.

Of the $125 million, about $50 million was set aside for future workers’ compensation awards and about $52 million was split equally between two treatment programs — one for firefighters and another for injured police officers, union workers and other responders, but not office workers or neighborhood residents.

A working group appointed by Dr. Howard has not yet determined which diseases will be eligible for treatment with the new money or whether the money will cover hospital stays as well as office visits. But he recognizes that it is not nearly enough to cover New York’s needs, let alone the national treatment program he intends to start.

“You don’t have to go to cancers years from now, or asbestosis, to be able to say ‘Gee, John, how far do you think this money is going to go?’ ” Dr. Howard said. “I don’t think it will go that far.”

Besides the lack of money for treatment, the absence of timely public health information made it more likely that doctors who initially saw sick responders would be unprepared to treat what they found.

Doctors at Mount Sinai have said that up to a third of the workers they examined were taking improper medications because their doctors had misdiagnosed their symptoms. Severe sinusitis, for example, was treated with antibiotics even though that condition might have been caused by chemical burns from the caustic dust.

Yet it was not until Thursday, days before the fifth anniversary, that the city issued diagnostic guidelines for the unusual illnesses linked to ground zero dust, despite urging by medical specialists and labor leaders as early as December 2001.

“This is a significant failure of the public health system,” said Micki Siegel de Hernandez, health and safety director for District 1 of the Communications Workers of America. Ms. Siegel de Hernandez contended that the city delayed releasing the guidelines because it was worried that acknowledging the extent of the health problems might increase its legal liability.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said in an interview that the city had decided it made more sense for the doctors at Mount Sinai’s screening program to put guidelines on their Web site because they were seeing the workers while the city’s medical staff was not.

Mount Sinai did publish guidelines in early 2002, but they did not carry the weight of an official city advisory and had limited impact.

“We lost opportunities by not disseminating guidelines widely or at least putting out a caution,” Dr. Howard said.

Dr. Frieden agreed that if they had been released sooner, the guidelines might have helped clinicians make more accurate diagnoses.

“Would I rather have had the guidelines out sooner? Sure,” he said this summer. “But it’s important to get this right.” He said the delay had nothing to do with concerns about the city’s legal liability for sick responders.

About 8,000 responders have sued the city and the big contractors who worked for the city in the recovery operations, charging them with reckless disregard for workers’ health. The city has asked a federal court in Manhattan to dismiss the suit.

Although five years have passed, many questions about the environmental disaster at ground zero remain unanswered. To this day, the government has never precisely measured where the dust went, information that could help determine the health impact on residents near ground zero. And it is unclear whether cancers, possibly linked to the toxic materials, will arise in future years, or if some of the sick will get better.

For now, among the sick and their doctors, the faltering and delayed governmental response raises unsettling questions about whether the country is prepared to handle a similar catastrophe.

“I think of that every time I come to New York,” Dr. Howard said. “Given this betrayal of trust, this lack of being there at the time and all these other things, I don’t know. We can try with what we have, but it certainly is a different situation when you do it five years later.”

09-05-2006, 01:13 PM
Most 9/11 recovery workers suffered lung ills
70 percent of WTC responders developed symptoms, major study shows


Updated: 12:34 p.m. ET Sept. 5, 2006

NEW YORK - Nearly 70 percent of recovery workers who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center suffered lung problems during or after their work at ground zero, a new health study released Tuesday shows.

Less than a week before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mount Sinai Medical Center issued the results of the largest study on related health effects.

It found, among other things, that illnesses tended to be worst among those who arrived first at the site, and that high rates of lung “abnormalities” continued years later.

The study focused mostly on what has been dubbed “World Trade Center cough,” which was little understood immediately after the attacks but became a chief concern of health experts and advocates.

Findings highlighted by the study include:

Almost 70 percent of World Trade Center responders had new or worsened lung symptoms after the attacks.
Among responders who had no health symptoms before the attacks, 61 percent developed lung symptoms while working on the toxic pile.
One-third of those tested had abnormal lung function tests. In lung function tests, responders had abnormalities at a rate double that expected in the general population. Those abnormalities persisted for months and in some cases years after the exposure, the study found.

The findings are based on medical exams conducted between July 2002 and April 2004 on 9,500 ground zero workers, including construction workers, law enforcers, firefighters, transit workers, volunteers and others.

The hospital has been the focal point of New York research on Sept. 11-related illnesses, and thousands have sought treatment there.

The report comes as public concern over the fate of ground zero workers has risen. In a class action lawsuit against the city and its contractors, 8,000 workers and civilians blame Sept. 11 for sinusitis, cancers and other ailments they developed after the attacks.

Dr. John Howard, who was appointed by the Bush administration in February to coordinate the various ground zero health programs, told The New York Times for Tuesday editions that he understands the skepticism of many responders.

“I can understand the frustration and the anger, and most importantly, the concern about their future,” said Howard, the head of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. “I can’t blame them for thinking, ‘Where were you when we needed you?”’

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was expected to announce related program plans on Tuesday.

Tracking long-term effects
The programs would “build on our track record of supporting those who supported us in the months after 9/11,” he wrote in an op-ed piece in the Daily News. “The city will continue to do everything possible to learn about the problems people face and develop effective strategies to deal with them.”

Gov. George Pataki signed legislation last month that expanded benefits for workers who became sick after toiling at ground zero, but Bloomberg objected to the laws, saying they were unfunded and would cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars.

A House committee plans to hold a hearing on Sept. 11 health issues this week.

The city-run World Trade Center Health Registry is tracking the long-term effects on 71,000 people, including those who lived or worked in lower Manhattan at the time of the attacks and the months of cleanup.

Just last week, New York City health officials issued long-awaited guidelines to help doctors detect and treat Sept. 11-related illnesses — medical advice considered crucial for hundreds of ground zero workers now scattered across the United States.

09-07-2006, 10:44 PM
Documents: Feds, City Knew Of Ground Zero Toxins
Part II -- Memo: NYC Reopened WTC Area Despite EPA Warning


Marcia Kramer

(CBS) NEW YORK CBS 2 Exclusive: Stunning proof has been uncovered that the government knowingly put New Yorkers in harm's way after 9/11.

CBS 2 News has obtained documents revealing that Lower Manhattan was reopened a few weeks following the attack even though the air was not safe.

The two devastating memos, written by the U.S. and local governments, show they knew. They knew the toxic soup created at Ground Zero was a deadly health hazard. Yet they sent workers into the pit and people back into their homes.

One of the memos, from the New York City health department, dated Oct. 6, 2001, noted: "The mayor's office is under pressure from building owners ... in the Red Zone to open more of the city." The memo said the Department of Environmental Protection was "uncomfortable" with opening the areas but, "The mayor's office was directing the Office of Emergency Management to open the target areas next week."

"Not only did they know it was unsafe, they didn't heed the words of more experienced people that worked for the city and E.P.A.," said Joel Kupferman, with the group Environmental Justice Project.

Another part of the memo noted: "The E.P.A. has been very slow to make data results available and to date has not sufficiently informed the public of air quality issues arising from this disaster."

"Unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me," said health protestor Yuichi Tamamo. "For the last five years we've been saying air quality here has been horrible."

It also doesn't suprise Carmen Flores, who lives in an apartment in the Baruch Houses that was engulfed in the 9/11 toxic plume. Her health has deteriorated and she has multiple medicines.

"I feel forgotten," she said.

Bruce Sprague, an E.P.A. official in the New York and New Jersey region during 9/11 admited to CBS 2 News the agency was finding alarming air quality readings at Ground Zero and in the surrounding areas.

Sprague said the E.P.A. had written much more conservative health assessments, but the memos had to go to Washington. And when the White House got its hands on them, they -- according to Sprague -- softened them.

The city health department refused to comment on the memo, but inside sources told CBS 2 News the memo is real. And its veracity is not questioned by the Environmental Justice Project's Kupferman.

He calls it "a smoking gun."

09-09-2006, 09:33 AM
9-11 health impact dispute: "We never lied," Christine Whitman lies


Submitted by Bill Weinberg on Sat, 09/09/2006 - 02:03.

It is a truly appalling spectacle to watch former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman and New York City officials pass the buck for the deadly 9-11 health fallout back and forth like a shuttlecock. Whitman said in a "60 Minutes" interview to be aired this weekend that the EPA did not have authority over the Ground Zero site, and claimed she provided an accurate assessment of the air quality following the attacks. She distinguished between the air in lower Manhattan, which was considered safe, and the air at Ground Zero, which was not. "The readings [in lower Manhattan] were showing us that there was nothing that gave us any concern about long-term health implications," she said. "That was different from on the pile itself, at ground zero. There, we always said consistently, 'You've got to wear protective gear.'" (AP, Sept. 8)

But this a bogus defense, given that she failed to make this rather critical distinction at the time. New York Newsday saves this Sept. 18, 2001 Whitman quote from the Memory Hole:

"We are very encouraged that the results frpm our monitoring of air quality and drinking water conditions in both New York and near the Pentagon show that the public in these areas is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances. I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington DC that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink."

Yet she has the chutzpah to tell "60 Minutes": "We never lied." Ommission is a form of lying, Christine. Ask any lawyer.

Meanwhile, New York City legal counsel Michael Cardozo responded that "the City of New York did everything within its power to protect those who participated in the recovery effort." Fortunately, Newsday also saves this Sept. 28, 2001 gem from the much-lionized Rudolph Giuliani, mayor at the time of the attacks, revealing him as perfectly complicit in the EPA's cover-up:

"Although they occasionally will have an isolated reading with an unacceptable level of asbestos...it's very occassional and very irsolated. The air quality is safe and acceptable."

The dust-up comes days after a study of nearly 9,500 police officers, paramedics, construction workers and others who toiled at Ground Zero was released by physicians at Mount Sinai Medical Center. The study finds that seven out of 10 first responders and workers who were at Ground Zero suffer from chronic lung ailments that probably will be lifelong. The study represents the first scientific evidence linking Ground Zero dust and debris to health woes, vindicating doctors and patients who for years insisted the connection was undeniable.

The study focused mostly on so-called "World Trade Center cough," the primary concern of health experts and advocates. Doctors at Mount Sinai also said they expect to find disproportionate cancer among the study's participants in the years to come.

"There should no longer be any doubt about the health effects of the World Trade Center. Our patients are sick," said Dr. Robin Herbert, co-director of the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program at Mount Sinai.

Herbert was joined at a news conference announcing the findings by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Reps. Jerold Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), and other officials, who said the federal government must respond with programs to cover the health-related costs of the sick workers. (Newsday, Sept. 6)

More info at 9-11 Environmental Action.

See our last report on how New York's heroes are getting screwed.

09-09-2006, 05:50 PM
Time to stop the toxic lies of 9/11
Federal, city leaders should be owning up to WTC health risks



The very leaders who failed to protect countless New Yorkers from the toxic pollution after Sept. 11 are now trying to blame each other.

What they should be doing is owning up to their lies and deceits.

In the weeks after the World Trade Center collapse, this column repeatedly warned that federal, state and city leaders were all hiding the true extent of environmental hazards in lower Manhattan.

Instead of admitting the truth, city and federal officials attacked those columns as alarmist and irresponsible - and they exerted enormous pressure on the Daily News to stop publishing them.

Some samples of the supposedly "irresponsible" work:

On Sept. 28, 2001, I reported that testing of dust samples around lower Manhattan by the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project had revealed more widespread asbestos contamination than Christie Whitman, then the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, had led the public to believe. I also reported that city officials were not enforcing the use of proper safety equipment by workers at Ground Zero.

On Oct. 9, 2001, I reported that private testing done by a widely respected Virginia environmental firm had revealed unusually high levels of asbestos inside two office buildings near Ground Zero. Many of the fibers had been pulverized into such unusually microscopic size by the towers' collapse that they went undetected by much of the equipment federal agencies were using.

The story accused of being the most "alarmist" piece ran Oct. 26, 2001, in a front-page story headlined "A Toxic Nightmare at Disaster Site." I revealed for the first time that hundreds of pages of the EPA's own tests showed the agency had detected such toxic substances as dioxins, PCBs, benzene, lead and chromium in the air and soil around the WTC site - sometimes at levels far exceeding federal standards.

The EPA's regional administrator immediately blasted the report as "one of the worst kind you can write." He conceded there had been some "elevated readings" near the site but the agency's overall testing "indicates people are safe."

"Sometimes the odor is terrible," former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said then, "but what I'm told is that it is not dangerous to your health."

That column led furious City Hall aides and federal officials to pressure The News to stop these reports.

The next voice on this subject belonged to Whitman, who wrote an op-ed piece for The News defending her agency's response to air-quality monitoring.

But there were too many complaints from sick residents and workers to ignore, and The News continued to publish more of my reports challenging the official story.

Five years later, there is a mountain of evidence that all levels of government issued misleading information and outright lies about air quality in those early days.

Whitman now wants to blame Giuliani for lack of safety enforcement at the WTC site. The city was in charge of Ground Zero and the EPA "didn't have the authority to do that," she says.

Another deceit.

Yes, Giuliani and the city failed miserably to enforce federal safety rules at the site. For weeks, the city did not ensure that every worker used proper respirators and decontamination methods - something federal inspectors noted in a highly critical report on Oct. 6, 2001.

But Whitman's agency had the legal power to step in at any time and take control, under a 1998 presidential directive that puts the EPA in charge of cleaning up contaminated sites after a terrorist attack.

More importantly, the EPA created a false sense of security among rescue workers and the public after 9/11. Whitman herself said the agency's early testing of air and dust showed "no reason for concern."

That reassuring message had its roots in the White House.

Three years ago, the EPA's inspector general revealed that White House aides rewrote the agency's initial press releases to lull both the public and rescue workers into thinking everything was okay.

For example, in an EPA draft of a Sept. 13, 2001, press statement, the White House removed the following words - "Even at low levels, EPA considers asbestos hazardous" - and inserted a more benign statement: "Monitoring and sampling ... have been very reassuring about potential exposure of rescue crews and the public to environmental contaminants."

City Hall, however, didn't need the EPA or the White House to reveal a major contamination problem.

A city Department of Environmental Protection spokesman told The News on Sept. 17, 2001, that "no levels of asbestos or any pollutants that raise concern" had been found.

Another lie.

In February 2002, the agency finally released the results of its own early testing. It turned out that 27 of DEP's first 38 outdoor tests detected asbestos levels higher than the agency's safety threshold.

You'd think that five years after that horrible day, our leaders - from the White House on down - would stop the lies.

09-18-2006, 09:09 AM
Officials accused of 9/11 lie


Newsday Staff Writer

September 18, 2006

Hugh Kaufman, a former chief investigator for the EPA's inquiry into the response to Sept. 11, criticized government officials yesterday, accusing them of lying to the public about New York's air quality after the terrorist attacks.

"Until we fix the broken government, none of us is safe," he said at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington at the screening of a documentary about Sept. 11-related illnesses.

According to an internal EPA report released in 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency was directed by the White House in the days after Sept. 11 to amend its news releases by adding reassuring statements and removing cautionary ones. Tests later revealed that dust from Ground Zero had high levels of fiberglass and pulverized asbestos.

Kaufman said the new document shows that former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman -- in addition to the White House -- was responsible for manipulating information and deceiving the public.

Before the screening, Kaufman released an EPA document showing that both the White House and Whitman, urged an EPA spokeswoman to "reassure the public" in the aftermath of the attacks.

The document summarizes an August 2002 conference in which public affairs officials were interviewed about their department's response to Sept. 11. It quotes Tina Kreisher, a former associate administrator for the Office of Communications, Education and Media Relations.

The document says: "When asked whether there was a conscious effort to reassure the public, Ms. Kreisher said there was such an effort. This emphasis 'came from the Administrator and the White House.'"

Kaufman also released a February 2001 memo in which Whitman recused herself from dealing with matters affecting her investments, including Port Authority bonds. The Port Authority owns the World Trade Center site.

"She should not have worked on the case," Kaufman said. "It was a conflict of interest."

Other speakers at the event -- which featured the documentary "The Toxic Clouds of 9/11," produced and directed by Alison Johnson -- included first responders who worked on the pile and have since become ill.

Paramedic Marvin Bethea was buried twice in debris on Sept. 11 while escorting people to safety. Five weeks later, he suffered a stroke attributed to Sept. 11 stress and later was diagnosed with adult-onset asthma, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic rhinitis. He was not awarded workers compensation until this year.

"We've got to make sure 9/11 does not become an afterthought," he said.

09-24-2006, 09:32 PM
Rice Reportedly Signed Off On 9/11 "Safe To Breathe" Documents


September 24, 2006

Former EPA head Christie Whitman has come under fire from city leaders who accuse her of deceiving the public about the air quality after September 11th, but according to the New York Post, Condoleezza Rice also approved documents declaring the air around the World Trade Center site "safe to breathe."

The paper says Rice – then head of the National Security council – gave final approval to those infamous EPA press releases days after 9/11.

Scientists have since said the air was filled with toxins. Whitman's camp tells the Post that she never discussed press releases directly with Rice.

09-24-2006, 09:35 PM
Damn, Rice just keeps digging that hole deeper and deeper.

09-24-2006, 09:39 PM
You mean like when she committed perjury before the 9/11 Commission?

09-24-2006, 09:40 PM
You mean like when she committed perjury before the 9/11 Commission?
Yeah, something like that.

09-25-2006, 09:05 AM

http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/rice_okd_claim_of_safe_air_after_9_11_regionalnews _susan_edelman_______heather_gilmore_____and_brad_ hamilton.htm


September 24, 2006 -- Condoleezza Rice's office gave final approval to the infamous Environmental Protection Agency press releases days after 9/11 claiming the air around Ground Zero was "safe to breathe," internal documents show.

Now Secretary of State, Rice was then head of the National Security Council - "the final decision maker" on EPA statements about lower Manhattan air quality, the documents say.

Scientists and lawmakers have since deemed the air rife with toxins.

Early tests known to the EPA at the time had already found high asbestos levels, the notes say. But those results were omitted from the press releases because of "competing priorities" such as national security and "opening Wall Street," according to a report by the EPA's inspector general.

The chief of staff for then-EPA head Christie Todd Whitman, Eileen McGinnis, told the inspector general of heated discussions, including "screaming telephone calls," about what to put in the press releases.

The notes come from a 2003 probe into public assurances made on Sept. 16, five days after the 9/11 attacks. They tell how a White House staffer "worked with Dr. Condoleezza Rice's press secretary" on reviewing the press releases for weeks.

Whitman said through a spokeswoman Friday that she never discussed her press releases directly with Rice. She also defended her collaboration with the White House.

Now-retired Inspector General Nikki Tinsley told The Post her auditors tried to question the head of President Bush's Environmental Quality Council, but "he would not talk to us."

Calls and e-mails to Rice were not returned.

10-02-2006, 08:54 AM
Students At Ground Zero Could Feel 9/11 Effects



(CBS/AP) NEW YORK Several Manhattan Democrats are urging the federal government to pay for health insurance for students who attended school in Lower Manhattan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Borough President Scott Stringer and Councilman Alan Gerson held a news conference Sunday. They also called on the government to pay for research and medical screenings for the students.

Amit Friedlander, a 2002 graduate of Stuyvesant High School joined them at the conference. He recently received a diagnosis of Hodgkins lymphoma and suspects toxic dust from Ground Zero was a cause.

10-08-2006, 08:27 AM
Advocates Say Illegal Workers Suffer After 9/11 Cleanup
But a Recent N.Y. Program Offers Help to Many With Lung, Other Diseases


By Darryl Fears
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 8, 2006; Page A10

Jose Moncada watched the World Trade Center towers tumble, and, like so many Americans, felt a patriotic urge to help rescue survivors and rebuild after Sept. 11. "It was my time to put my hand on my heart," he said. "It was my time to help somebody."

It did not matter to him that he was an illegal immigrant from Honduras. And that did not seem to matter to supervisors who oversaw the retrieval of human remains and the removal of toxic debris at Ground Zero. They welcomed Moncada and thousands of other illegal immigrants, no questions asked.

Working on the pile for 10 days, Moncada breathed in thick dust, grainy asbestos and foul-smelling gases driven by an angry downtown wind. Now, five years later, he suffers from a hacking cough, nosebleeds, wheezing breath and life-threatening respiratory illnesses that also trouble thousands of legal U.S. residents who worked there.

No one knows how many illegal immigrants worked at Ground Zero in the days after Sept. 11. Immigration advocates claim it was thousands.

And now, as the workers have become sick, partisans on both sides cast their plight in moral terms.

"After 9/11, everybody responded with their heart," said Carmen Calderón, coordinator of Sept. 11 immigrant outreach for the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. "Immigrants died in those towers. They wanted to be part of the recovery of this nation."

But when a backlash developed against the huge wave of illegal immigration, "they changed the DMV laws, and a lot of asbestos workers lost their licenses because they couldn't get a picture ID," Calderón said. "A lot of them are sick now, without work. They've lost their insurance. They lost their incomes. They lost everything."

Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which opposes immigration increases, expressed regret for illegal immigrants who fell sick after working at Ground Zero but said they should not have been allowed to enter the country illegally.

"It tells us how harmful it is to have a policy that winks at illegal immigration and gives status to illegal aliens," Krikorian said. "If they present themselves to authorities, they should be sent home. It makes people squeamish to say this because of what happened. But this is a result of the ridiculous situation we've put ourselves in."

Moncada said fires were still burning on the streets when he showed up to volunteer in September 2001. "No one asked for papers or anything," he said. He worked with others who spoke Spanish.

Volunteers searched for survivors but found only pieces of remains.

"They had 100 people on one side, 50 people on the other, a big long line. We had to remove all the dust and the debris, the steel and metal. The machines couldn't do it because the vibrations caved everything in, so they worked by hand," Moncada said.

Andrzej, an illegal immigrant from Poland who would not give his last name because he feared deportation, worked for pay. He arrived at Ground Zero in October 2001 and took a job doing cleanup, wearing only a paper mask. "Nobody was asking me for any documents or any paper," he said. "All the time I only heard that I was doing a good job, 'Thank you.' "

Workers were paid about $19 an hour, toiling for up to 16 hours a day. They were given buckets, mops, rags and little protective equipment as they cleared away glass, metal, dust and waste from downtown buildings that were not destroyed, advocates said.

"The ladies were smaller, so they put them in the air ducts, huge pipes," Calderón said. "They crawled in to wipe down the pipes with no masks, no gloves, nothing, not even a change of clothes."

Two years later, Moncada started to feel tired. Then he felt pain.

"My nose hurts every time I breathe," he said. "My vision is very bad. My breathing is very bad. A doctor gave me Tylenol and Advil.

"I don't want to speak to anybody. I want to stay home. I feel depressed. I can't sleep very well at night. Every day I wake up and I do nothing. I don't know what is happening to my system, my body."

Andrzej said he felt even worse. He went to an emergency room when he could not move his arms. He was admitted for a week and released with medication to control blood clotting.

"I don't work anymore," he said. "I am too sick to work. I can't speak or clearly think. I try but I have to push myself. It feels like someone is sitting on my chest. It's hard to breathe."

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that 40,000 workers cleaned along Canal Street. Thousands of illegal immigrants from China, Honduras, Russia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico worked beside legal U.S. residents.

"For low-income immigrant communities where health insurance is scarce . . . this disaster magnified an already desperate situation," Calderón said. "Their choice is concrete. Do I pay my rent? Do I buy medicine? Do I put food on the table? These choices are obviously choices that some victims of Sept. 11 have to make."

In 2004, an advocacy group called Beyond Ground Zero noticed more and more immigrants getting sick. The advocates approached Bellevue Hospital and asked for help. The hospital started an unfunded program that provided care to patients, and last year the American Red Cross donated money to expand the program.

This month, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R) pledged $16 million over five years to expand the initiative further. Within two weeks, the occupational safety committee received more than 350 calls from immigrants, Calderón said. Newton said 500 people had been screened for medical examinations by her organization, and 700 people were waiting.

But the assistance may have come too late for illegal immigrants who have gone home since working at Ground Zero, advocates and workers said.

"It's going to be a challenge finding them, because undocumented immigrants move around a lot," Calderón said. "Because of some of the anti-immigrant sentiment, many of them have returned home to Mexico, to Poland. They might not hear the message."

Mike Cutler, who tracked down illegal immigrants for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, said authorities should do what they can to aid the sick. But he said they should also send home illegal immigrants and fix the dysfunctional immigration system.

"While I feel bad for people who saw Sept. 11 happen, chipped in and got sick, I would not want a blanket amnesty for them," he said. "You would wind up with millions and millions of people saying they worked at Ground Zero."

10-08-2006, 08:31 AM
9-11 workers get lung screenings


By Karen A. Diaz
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted October 8 2006

U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Fort Lauderdale, recently announced at Broward General Medical Center a new statewide lung-screening program for first responders such as firefighters and paramedics who served at Ground Zero.

"Shortly after 9-11, I went to New York and surveyed the damage," Shaw said. "I saw firsthand our responders inhaling thick, heavy toxins and pollutants and most rescuers had very flimsy protection over their noses and mouths. Because of their extraordinary acts of patriotism, these first responders now need an ordinary act of compassion from Florida's hospitals."

Broward General is the first hospital in the state to offer the lung screening.

"These people are heroes," said Alan Levine, president/CEO of the North Broward Hospital District. "When Congressman Shaw asked us to do this program, the only question in my mind was `Why wouldn't we do it?' We are honored the congressman asked us. Our flagship, Broward General Medical Center, kicked off this program and we applaud the other hospitals that followed."

In announcing the program, Shaw was joined by Professional Firefighters President Mike Salzano, Miami Fire Rescue Chief William Bryson, Levine and Broward General Medical Center pulmonologist Glenn Singer.

"The amount of dangerous particles and asbestos that our firefighters and first responders may have been exposed to could have been extremely dangerous," Singer said. "I'm elated to provide a clean bill of health to the three first responders who took their test today."

10-15-2006, 06:10 PM
Lost in the Dust of 9/11
From society's margins, janitors were drafted for an epic cleanup around ground zero. Then 'the cough' racked their lives.


By Ellen Barry, Times Staff Writer
October 14, 2006

NEW YORK — There is no voice left in Manuel Checo's voice. He speaks in a granular rasp that fades, occasionally, to whispery puffs of air. Sometimes, for periods as long as two days, he is unable to speak at all.

When that happens, Checo carries a pad of paper with him so he can scribble down notes if he needs something. But for the most part, he will simply disappear into his rented room, ignoring his cellphone when it rings.

Checo, a janitor, spent six months cleaning dust from office buildings around ground zero after the World Trade Center attack. Five years later, the lining of his lungs is pocked with scars and densities that do not belong there — possibly a sign of a disease that can cause lung tissue to become so stiff that it can no longer carry oxygen, wrote a radiologist who examined a scan of his lungs last year.

The son of a general in the Dominican Republic, Checo, 54, irons his shirts with military precision. When he meets a woman on the street, he kisses her hand. But the truth is that when he discovered that he was too weak to work again, his life veered terribly off course. He was evicted from his apartment and slept in his car for six months. Acquaintances didn't understand his racking cough and thought he had tuberculosis or AIDS.

Whoever he was before Sept. 12, 2001 — when a supervisor from his company called to tell him there was work near ground zero — he is a different man now. Sometimes he is overwhelmed by the feeling that he has lost his way.

"I get up, I get dressed," he said, in Spanish, through a translator. "And then I say to myself, 'Where am I going?' "

The dust around ground zero, we now know, contained caustic, finely pulverized concrete, trillions of microscopic fibers of glass, and particles of lead, mercury and arsenic, as well as carcinogens like asbestos and dioxin. Five years out, the "World Trade Center cough" has started to look like a persistent — and in some cases disabling — respiratory condition.

An ever-growing number of New Yorkers is coming forward to describe symptoms: the first responders who plunged into the tangled wreckage to find survivors; the volunteers who hauled diesel fuel and doled out cigarettes; the students at Stuyvesant High School who returned to classes while acrid fires burned nearby.

Less visible is the army of cleaning workers who were sent to the area to clean office buildings. Those were the cases that were shocking to Scottie Hill, a social worker, when the Mount Sinai Medical Center opened its WTC health clinic in 2002. The cleaners, mostly Polish and Latino immigrants, were already living close to the edge when the job began; by the following year, many were in crisis because of lost wages and poor health.

Three out of four lacked health insurance. Forget workers' compensation — many of them could not even contact their employers by phone. Hill frequently saw clients who were facing eviction or had lost their homes. Some couldn't afford the $4 it cost to ride the subway to the clinic and back.

A few of the immigrant workers, too sick to support themselves in the U.S. anymore, have returned to their home countries. But that decision is fraught, too, because relatives back home — or doctors, for that matter — may not know what is wrong with them. Jaime Carcamo, a psychologist who treats 50 Latino workers who cleaned around ground zero, said some of them, finding that they were unable to work, simply withdrew from society.

"They just remain like nomads," he said. "Some of these people just fell into the cracks. People don't know about them, but they're out there still."

It is ironic, then, that Checo remembers the job so fondly. He had been a U.S. citizen for almost a decade by then, and working around ground zero gave him "so much sense of brotherhood," as if he were descending into the pit every day with police and firefighters. It was an environment stripped of class, of racism. What he says about the experience is this: "Something so bad created something so beautiful."

He worked a night shift as part of a two-man team with Alex Sanchez, a fellow Dominican 15 years his junior. Using a handsaw, they would cut two holes, each large enough for a man's torso, in a building's air vents. Peering into the dark passageway with a flashlight, all they could see was dust, glittering in the dark. Then one of them would hold up a hand vacuum, and the other would switch on an air hose, and both would disappear in a cloud of dust.

Tons of material had settled in the buildings. When terrorists crashed two planes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, its two towers collapsed with such force that dust and debris poured in and upward through the ventilation systems of the buildings around them. It was up to landlords to decide who would clear the buildings, and many chose cheaper labor: men and women who days before had been emptying trash cans and dusting computers.

The city's Department of Environmental Protection generally oversees the removal of debris containing asbestos, but that system was informally abandoned after Sept. 11, according to David Newman, an industrial hygienist with the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, a coalition of union leaders and safety activists. Landlords got no guidance from state or federal agencies, leaving them "free, if you will, to do whatever they wanted, or to do nothing," Newman said. "It was kind of a Wild West."

Checo and Sanchez wore paper masks that covered their noses and mouths when they were available — about 30% of the time, Sanchez said. But the dust permeated everything; a T-shirt that was white at the beginning of a shift would be mousy-gray by its end. Anyway, health was the last thing on their minds. They were making $18 an hour, plus time and a half for overtime, instead of the $12.75 an hour they earned cleaning university buildings. It was good money. It was a good cause.

What was painful, oddly, was leaving at the end of a shift; that's when the hopeless, leaden feeling sank in. Sanchez, 39, who was born in the U.S. and wears hip, Woody Allen-ish glasses, recalls making a conscious effort to tune out at the end of the day. Back in his apartment in Washington Heights, he would watch silly, diverting television shows. Then he would collapse in bed. He had no idea whether the air was safe to breathe because he didn't ask.

"If we all used common sense, we would say, 'This is not a healthy environment,' " Sanchez said. "But the whole 9/11 situation itself kept you from thinking."

Sanchez figured he deserved to be exhausted at the end of the job. But this exhaustion was depthless, unfathomable. In May, when he tried to return to his ordinary job — buffing floors at New York University — he got dizzy and his chest closed up. He lasted six days, then went back to bed. He, his mother and his son had moved in with an aunt to save money, and both women were pressuring him, angrily, to go back to work. At one point, the fighting grew so stormy that his mother called the police.

Sanchez's world revolved around his symptoms: fatigue, joint pain, pressure in his chest, a sore throat that would not go away. Only one person seemed to believe him, and that was his work partner, Checo. The sickness drove them closer to each other, and farther from everyone else. "Me and him, we're a team," said Sanchez.

Checo had his own set of problems. Because of a bureaucratic mix-up at the company where he worked, ABM Industries, he was unable to receive unemployment benefits, and he ran through his savings so quickly that in the summer of 2002, he took a few of his possessions and moved into his car. He began to tell Sanchez that there were shadowy figures following him. Asked how Sept. 11 had altered him, he rasped out this answer:

"Every man — every great man, every evil man — has feelings," he said. "No matter how rough you are outside, you have a weak spot. 9/11 hit me in my weak spot."

Soon after the first anniversary of Sept. 11, Checo called Sanchez with exciting news: He had been watching a news show when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared, urging ground zero workers to go for screening at the Mount Sinai Medical Center's new clinic. "Boom. I put one and one together," Sanchez said. "It's like, 'This is why this is happening.' "

The day they went in for appointments, everything changed. Checo was diagnosed with rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, delusional disorder, and schizophrenia, paranoid type. Sanchez was diagnosed with asthma, sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux, various musculoskeletal injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Each now takes fistfuls of medications.

The two men don't see their old circle of Dominican friends as much these days, Sanchez said. New friends have replaced them: doctors, therapists, environmental activists. In 2004, Sanchez and Checo traveled to Washington to testify before an Environmental Protection Agency panel.

Both now receive regular workers' compensation payments — Sanchez receives $243 a week, Checo about $350 — and free healthcare at Mount Sinai. They are among 75 plaintiffs who have filed a $30-million lawsuit against the owners of dozens of office towers in Lower Manhattan. But that case is not likely to go to trial for at least two years, said their attorney, Robert Grochow.

In the meantime, Sanchez and Checo shuttle from appointment to appointment. Each man carries a sheaf of medical records and hospital bills around with him — artillery in an ongoing battle to get care. The future is something they do not focus on. But this is not unusual, said Carcamo, the psychologist.

"We don't know what is ahead of them,' " he said. "They often ask me, 'What am I going to do?' To be honest about it, I am not sure."

Sanchez is jerked back to ordinary life by the demands of his son, Jack, who started kindergarten this fall. But Checo still seems a bit lost as he walks slowly down Broadway, stopping every now and then to catch his breath. What undoes him, as he waits for the next round of doctor's appointments, are the trappings of ordinary life that have slipped away from him: for instance, the collection of jazz recordings that he gave away when he was evicted.

In the black vinyl folder that he carries around with him — it contains, among other things, the program from his father's funeral — is a photograph of himself kneeling in front of a softball team, the J-Boys, for whom he played center field until he got sick. In the picture, he is dark-haired, vigorous. It was taken a few weeks before the World Trade Center attack. He looks at it, occasionally, to remind himself who he was.

10-17-2006, 11:13 PM
Judge allows 9/11 lawsuits to go forward



NEW YORK -- A federal judge on Tuesday refused to toss out claims by thousands of emergency workers who sued New York City and about 150 private contractors after the workers were sickened by dust at the World Trade Center site.

Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein dismissed claims against Consolidated Edison Co. and companies controlled by developer Larry Silverstein, saying they did not have legal control over the area and therefore were not liable for damages.

But Hellerstein said the city, its contractors, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were only partially immune from lawsuits, with the precise scope and extent of the immunity varying according to date, place and activity.

Andrew J. Carboy, a lawyer for plaintiffs, called the judge's decision "a first step forward in the legal system for these other victims of 9-11."

Carboy, who represents 210 clients, mostly firefighters, said Hellerstein's decision comes as the number of people making claims climbs as high as 8,000.

Michael A. Cardozo, the city's top lawyer, said a close study of the facts surrounding the claims will show that the city and its contractors were not liable.

Hellerstein said he will appoint a special master to help eliminate claims that should not be pressed and oversee a case that is "likely to become unmanageable."

"If even a minority of the plaintiffs suffered serious injuries to their respiratory tracts arising from the acrid air of September 11, their claims deserve to be heard when a recovery could make a difference in their lives," the judge wrote.

He said the defendants also are entitled to swift resolution. "The scar to the public interest needs to be cleansed, speedily, in good time," he said.

The workers claim the city and contractors were negligent in monitoring the air and assuring the safety of crews who cleaned up the World Trade Center site for months after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The judge noted that a study released in September showed that approximately 70 percent of the 10,000 workers who were tested reported that they suffer from new or substantially increased respiratory problems since 9/11.

"The workers at the site were presented with a dangerous environment, below and surrounding their work activities, threatening their health and safety," the judge said.

10-20-2006, 03:13 PM
Scientists: Dogs Not Injured by WTC Work


(Gold9472: Bullshit. This is an example of how credible "scientists" can be.)

The Associated Press
Friday, October 20, 2006; 2:26 PM

NEW YORK -- They dug in the toxic World Trade Center dust for survivors, and later for the dead. Their feet were burned by white-hot debris. But unlike thousands of others who toiled at ground zero after Sept. 11, these rescue workers aren't sick.

Scientists have spent years studying the health of search-and-rescue dogs that nosed through the debris at ground zero, and to their surprise, they have found no sign of major illness in the animals. They are trying to figure out why this is so.

"They didn't have any airway protection, they didn't have any skin protection. They were sort of in the worst of it," said Cynthia Otto, a veterinarian at the University of Pennsylvania, where researchers launched a study of 97 dogs five years ago.

Although many ground zero dogs have died _ some of rare cancers _ researchers say many have lived beyond the average life span for dogs and are not getting any sicker than average.

Owners of the dogs dispute the findings, saying there is a definite link between the toxic air and their pets' health.

Otto has tracked dogs that spent an average of 10 days after the 2001 terrorist attacks at either the trade center site, the landfill in New York where most of the debris was taken, or the heavily damaged Pentagon.

As of last month, she said, 30 percent of the dogs deployed after Sept. 11 had died, compared with 22 percent of those in a comparison group of dogs who were not pressed into service. The difference was not considered statistically significant, Otto said.

But she added: "We have to keep looking."

A separate study, to be published soon by a doctor at New York's Animal Medical Center, focused on about two dozen New York police dogs, and comes to similar conclusions.

The results have baffled doctors. A study released last month found that 70 percent of the people who worked at ground zero suffer severe respiratory problems; scientists thought that the dogs might have similar health problems.

The dogs' owners and scientists have many theories why dogs aren't showing the same level of illness as people. Their noses are longer, possibly serving as a filter to protect their lungs from toxic dust and other debris, they say. The dogs were at the site an average of several days, while many people who report lung disease and cancer spent months cleaning up after the attacks.

The research isn't persuasive to many owners of dogs that died after working at the trade center site.

Joaquin Guerrero, a police officer in Saginaw, Mich., took two dogs, Felony and Rookie, to ground zero for 10 days after the attacks. While Felony remains healthy, Rookie died at age 9 in 2004 of cancer of the mouth. Guerrero believes his death was caused by exposure to ground zero.

"If the people are getting it, you know dogs are showing signs of it," Guerrero said.

Scott Shields' golden retriever, Bear, located the body of a fire chief and many other victims at ground zero. The 11-year-old dog died a year after the attacks of several types of cancer.

"He had never been sick a day in his life" before going to the site, where he sustained a wound to his back from steel debris, Shields said.

Shields, who heads a search-and-rescue dog foundation named after Bear, said Bear "died from bad government" and the toxic air at ground zero. He said that studies under way should have included every dog that worked at the site, and that the Penn study is flawed because it tries to compare dogs that worked at the Pentagon as well as in New York.

Otto said that some of the dogs that worked at the sites could not be found and other dogs' owners were not willing to subject their pets to annual blood tests and X-rays.

Mary Flood, whose 11 1/2-year-old black Labrador, Jake, is completely healthy five years after working at ground zero, said that dogs' much shorter life span may also make it harder to track long-term illness.

"Maybe there's not enough time to develop these things before they're no longer with us," she said.

10-24-2006, 09:08 AM
Medical Views of 9/11’s Dust Show Big Gaps


Published: October 24, 2006

In 2004, Kenneth R. Feinberg, special master of the federal Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, awarded $2.6 million to the family of a downtown office worker who died from a rare lung disease five months after fleeing from the dust cloud released when the twin towers fell. That decision made the worker, Felicia Dunn-Jones, a 42-year-old lawyer, the first official fatality of the dust, and one of only two deaths to be formally linked to the toxic air at ground zero.

The New York City medical examiner’s office, however, has refused to put her on its official list of 9/11 victims, saying that by its standards there was insufficient medical evidence to link her death to the dust.

Mrs. Dunn-Jones’s case shows how difficult it can be to prove a causal connection with any scientific certainty — and how even government agencies can disagree. With thousands of people now seeking compensation and treatment for dust exposure, the debate about the relationship between the toxic particles and disease will be a central issue in the flood of Sept. 11-related lawsuits. Health experts are starting to document the connections, but any firm conclusion is still years away.

Most of the suits involve workers who spent weeks and months on the pile at ground zero and say the city and other agencies failed to protect them from the toxic dust. Others involve residents who say they were made sick by dust that settled in their homes. Mrs. Dunn-Jones was among those downtown office workers caught in the initial fallout.

The question that arises in all these cases is straightforward: Can a link between the dust and disease be proved with scientific certainty? The answer is anything but simple.

“Certainty is a word we always dance around,” said Joseph Graziano, associate dean for research at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. For him, searching for the cause of disease is like developing film. “At first you see a faint image of what the real picture is,” Dr. Graziano said, “and then, over time, you see it with much more clarity. In these relatively early times, the image is still faint.”

It can take decades to approach any degree of certainty. For instance, only after years of observation did doctors agree that there was a strong link between asbestos and diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma.

In legal cases, “a reasonable degree of medical certainty” is considered the gold standard in making a causal connection. Last week, a federal judge cleared the way for thousands of workers’ lawsuits to go to trial. When the cases are heard, any proof that does not meet that legal standard is likely to be challenged.

But outside the courtroom, scientists say, even a less rigorous link could be sufficient to warrant expanding the range of illnesses covered by treatment programs, and to serve as the basis for issuing cautions to people in high-risk groups. When the health effects are too new or the evidence is too vague for a strong link, lesser indicators like the concurrence of different studies have to be relied on.

For example, nearly every ground zero study shows that workers and residents exposed to the dust in the hours after the collapse have suffered the worst health problems. The consistency in that data has helped doctors monitor and treat people since Sept. 11.

And it may also help explain why Mrs. Dunn-Jones, a dynamic civil rights lawyer with the United States Department of Education, became so sick so quickly. As she was swallowed by a whirling dust plume filled with asbestos, benzene, dioxin and other hazards when the first tower fell, all she could do was cover her nose and mouth as she fled from her office one block north of the World Trade Center.

It was night by the time she got home to Staten Island. “She was in a state of shock,” her husband, Joseph Jones, recalled. Her clothes were still dusty, but he didn’t pay much attention. “I was just so happy to see her,” he said.

For the next few months, life returned to normal, until Mrs. Dunn-Jones developed a cough. In January 2002, the cough grew worse. On Feb. 10, she suddenly stopped breathing and died.

Mr. Jones, 54, an assistant manager at a Brooklyn pharmacy, was stunned. Then, when he received the official death certificate months later, he was shocked to see an unfamiliar word — sarcoidosis.

“Even though I was in the medical field, I had never heard of it,” he said.

After reading several medical reports on sarcoidosis — including one by Dr. David J. Prezant, deputy chief medical officer of the New York Fire Department — Mr. Jones and his lawyer, Richard H. Bennett, wondered if Mrs. Dunn-Jones’s mysterious death could be linked to 9/11 dust because sarcoidosis, which produces microscopic lumps called granulomas, on vital organs, is often associated with exposure to environmental hazards.

They took the case to Mr. Feinberg and the victim compensation fund, which gave $7 billion to the families of those killed or injured on 9/11.

Mr. Feinberg initially expressed doubts about the claim and demanded to see definitive medical evidence linking Mrs. Dunn-Jones’s sarcoidosis to the dust.

Dr. Prezant, who declined to be interviewed for this article, was one of two experts who testified at a hearing conducted by Mr. Feinberg. In the first four years after 9/11, he found 20 cases of sarcoidosis in the Fire Department, a rate of 80 per 100,000 in the first year (with treatment, all are now stable), compared with a national rate of fewer than 6 per 100,000, according to the American Thoracic Society.

The other expert was Dr. Alan M. Fein, a clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine. He, too, was skeptical at first, but he said he changed his mind after reviewing Mrs. Dunn-Jones’s medical record, including the autopsy report. “I’m comfortable saying her death was caused by exposure to the dust,” Dr. Fein said in an interview.

In March 2004, Mr. Feinberg agreed, making Mrs. Dunn-Jones’s death the only dust-related fatality recognized by the fund. Only one other death has been formally linked to the dust: In April, a New Jersey coroner determined that James Zadroga, 34, a New York City police detective, had died of a disease similar to sarcoidosis, also caused by his exposure to ground zero dust.

Mr. Jones welcomed the settlement from the victim compensation fund, and believes that his wife was a 9/11 victim as surely as if she had died in the towers. He sent Mr. Feinberg’s decision to the city’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, and asked that his wife be put on the official list so that her name could be read on Sept. 11. Dr. Hirsch refused, a spokeswoman said, because the available evidence did not prove the connection “with a reasonable degree of medical certainty”— the highest medical standard generally used in legal cases.

Mr. Feinberg’s decision had been based on a different standard: a preponderance of medical evidence.

That was proof enough for the Staten Island Memorial Commission, which has engraved Mrs. Dunn-Jones’s name on the bone-white memorial on the island’s north shore.

Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, who has fought to get medical care for 9/11 victims, said the contradictory conclusions about Mrs. Dunn-Jones’s death underscored the importance of deciding who has the final say on causal links. “They should be medical decisions, not political ones,” she said, suggesting that city officials may have a conflict of interest in making such determinations since the city is a defendant in the ground zero workers’ lawsuits.

She has introduced a bill to reopen the federal compensation fund to people whose illnesses became known after the original eligibility period ended in 2003.

In the effort to collect definitive data, Dr. John Howard, the federal government’s 9/11 health coordinator, recently circulated a draft set of autopsy protocols that directs pathologists to use a standard of proof that establishes both biological plausibility and unequivocal evidence of a causal connection to the dust. But doctors and elected officials have said those standards are so restrictive that almost no death could be linked to the dust for years to come. A spokesman for Dr. Howard said the guidelines were being refined.

In another effort, the Mount Sinai Medical Center, which has screened thousands of ground zero workers, has begun a long-term study of the incidence of diseases to identify any rates that exceed national averages.

“Right now we’re in the process of confirming every case of interstitial lung disease, every cancer, every sarcoidosis that has been reported to us by responders in their visits,” said Dr. Jeanne M. Stellman, director of the public health program at Columbia University, is leading the data collection project.

“We are actively trying to determine whether Detective Zadroga and Mrs. Dunn-Jones are alone,” she said. “And we are trying to find a way to do this that is scientifically correct while also being responsive to the needs and fears of the communities involved.”

10-25-2006, 08:17 PM
Enzyme tied to WTC ills
May explain cough, study sez



Doctors unveiled a tantalizing glimpse yesterday into why some firefighters may suffer from the "World Trade Center cough" while others who endured the toxic dust and fumes at Ground Zero are relatively healthy.

Firefighters whose lung capacity deteriorated faster in the wake of 9/11 were more likely to be deficient in a key natural enzyme that protects against lung damage, according to a study of 90 of the 12,000 Bravest who responded to the attacks at Ground Zero.

But Dr. David Prezant, the study's lead researcher and the FDNY's co-chief medical officer, cautioned against drawing too broad a conclusion from the report.

"This is very, very preliminary information that cannot in any shape or form be translated into a diagnosis or treatment initiative," Prezant told the Daily News from Salt Lake City, where he presented his findings at a gathering of the American College of Chest Physicians.

"It is only one small piece of a puzzle," he said. "We are trying to understand the science behind why some patients come down with World Trade Center respiratory diseases and others do not."

However, the research could eventually help solve the puzzle years down the road, said Prezant, a lung specialist at Montefiore Medical Center.

Using a blood test normally used to screen people at risk of early-onset emphysema, Prezant found that 11 of the 90 firefighters had low levels of an enzyme called alpha-1 antitrypsin, or A1AT.

Of the 11, four had a significant deficiency of A1AT while seven had a moderate deficiency, the blood tests showed.

But none had the most severe kind of genetic deficiency. All have the WTC cough.

"What this enzyme does is it protects the lungs from damage," said Dr. Mark Rosen, a pulmonologist at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Center and president of American College of Chest Physicians.

"It prevents the destruction of lung tissue by a variety of mechanisms," he said.

About 150,000 Americans have a severe shortage of A1AT, but many are undiagnosed.

"Many more have a partial deficiency, and most of those people are not diagnosed for their whole lives because most of those people don't get sick" unless they are exposed to toxins such as cigarette smoke, Rosen said.

Prezant stressed that trying to determine whether a particular disease - whether it's WTC cough or breast cancer - is due to genetic or environmental factors is a science that's still in its infancy.

"It's not going to be one genetic trait" that is responsible for WTC cough, Prezant said.

That's why simply testing responders for the enzyme won't be useful, he said.

But the ongoing research at the FDNY is "on the cutting edge for trying to find future cures."

A study published in August by one of Prezant's colleagues at Montefiore painted a grim picture of the lung ailments among the 12,000 firefighters who inhaled dust and smoke on 9/11 and in the following months.

Those firefighters suffered a dramatic loss of lung capacity - 12 times the normal rate that occurs each year as people age, the study found.

10-25-2006, 08:20 PM
CHEST: World Trade Center Cough Linked to Enzyme Deficiency


By Michael Smith, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today
October 24, 2006

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 24 -- Researchers are slowly beginning to tease out why some people exposed to the toxic dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers developed respiratory disease and others didn't.

Advise patients who ask that little is known about why some people exposed to the fumes and dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers developed respiratory disease and other did not.

Note that this preliminary study finds a link between disease and deficiencies in the enzyme alpha-1 antitrypsin, which has been linked to an increased vulnerability to chronic lung and liver disorders.

This report is based on an abstract presented at a meeting. These data and conclusions should be considered preliminary as they have not yet been reviewed and published in a peer-reviewed publication.

One factor that may have played a role is a deficiency in the enzyme alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT), an investigator looking into the so-called World Trade Center cough said at Chest 2006, the meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Alpha 1-antitrypsin is a serine protease inhibitor. It protects tissue from enzymes released by inflammatory cells, especially elastase.

In a study he repeatedly characterized as "very preliminary," David Prezant, M.D., of New York's Montefiore Medical Center found that firefighters with an A1AT deficiency had significantly faster declines in lung function than those with normal A1AT levels.

But, he cautioned, the finding is based on a small sample and needs more research before it will have clinical relevance.

"It is too early to apply this at this time," Dr. Prezant told reporters before presenting his data. Indeed, he said, it's likely that A1AT deficiency is only one of many factors that played a role in determining who got sick after the towers collapsed.

Dr. Prezant and colleagues have been studying 12,000 of the New York firefighters who were "down there during the days and weeks that followed the collapse of the towers" and for whom lung function tests both before and after are available.

About 25% of the 2,000 to 3,000 firefighters who were exposed to the toxic fumes and dust on the first day -- Sept. 11, 2001 -- are still suffering from pulmonary symptoms consistent with asthma, he said.

A small subset of 151 exposed firefighters were enrolled in October 2001, and offered annual spirometric testing until 2005, when the 90 remaining in the group (60%) were given a blood test for A1AT deficiency.

Eleven were deficient in the enzyme -- four severely and seven to a lesser degree -- although none was homozygous for the genetic variants that would have given them the worst level of deficiency.

"That's to be expected," Dr. Prezant said. "These were healthy people before 9/11 doing a tremendous amount of aerobic activities."

But when the researchers statistically correlated A1AT levels and declines in lung function in the year after 9/11, they found that severely deficient subjects had a greater decline in one-second forced expiratory volume (FEV1) than normal participants, by about 125 mL.

Over the four years after the buildings were destroyed, those with severe deficiency continued to decline more than normal participants, at a rate that was significant at P=0.003. Also, those with moderate deficiency had declines that were intermediate.

The American College of Chest Physicians estimates that about 150,000 people in North America have an A1AT deficiency, but only about 5% have been diagnosed.

"A1AT deficiency can greatly affect the health and well being of patients, particularly in those who remain undiagnosed," commented Mark Rosen, M.D., of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, president of the college. "It is important for pulmonologists and other clinicians to understand screening guidelines for A1AT deficiency and recommend appropriate testing for patients accordingly."

10-25-2006, 08:23 PM
A Call to the NY Media: Save the Volunteers!


by Jonathan Bennett

I am writing to ask your assistance in publicizing a change in New York State’s Workers’ Compensation Law which will allow workers and volunteers who participated in the rescue, recovery and clean up efforts after 9/11 to register to preserve the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits.

As you know, many people traveled from all over the U.S. to New York City after 9/11 to work or volunteer in the rescue, recovery and cleanup effort. Now tens of thousands of 9/11 responders are experiencing or are at risk of disease or post-traumatic disorders resulting from their exposures and experiences. Fortunately, their right to file for workers’ compensation will now be protected, as a result of a New York State law that went into effect on August 14. The law applies to the vast majority of 9/11 responders,, including volunteers, even those who are now healthy, but workers and volunteers must register before next Aug. 14 to establish their permanent eligibility.

NYCOSH (the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health), in collaboration with World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program, the Laborers’ Health and Safety Trust Fund, Balcony, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, the United Church of Christ's National Disaster Ministries and workers’ compensation law firms, is trying to get this word out to workers and volunteers from all over the country.

It is imperative that everyone who is eligible to register receives information about this program before it’s too late. Anyone who does not register before the August 14, 2007 deadline – and who later develops a 9/11-related disease or disorder – will have missed an opportunity to have all medical expenses for the treatment of that condition covered by workers' compensation.

You are in a uniquely important position to make post-9/11 workers and volunteers aware of the program by placing an article in your newsletter, magazine or by send the story to your email list.

Pasted below is a short article that is an introduction to the new compensation program for post-9/11 workers and volunteers. For a formatted version of the article, go to New law provides benefits for 9/11 workers and volunteers: Registration open for a year. Or go to an even shorter version of the same article. The articles are not copyright and can be revised in any way and put to any appropriate use.

In the last paragraph of the articles there is a Internet link to the NYCOSH website where you can find detailed information (in English and Spanish) about the program. We will soon be posting the same information in Polish. Other translations are in the works.

If you would like to receive occasional updates about news concerning resources for treating and compensating those with 9/11-related health effects, please let me know by email. My contact information is pasted below the article.

I hope you can help.

For more information about 9/11-related disease, which in many cases is not recognized as such, visit Clinical Guidelines for Physicians Treating Adults Exposed to the World Trade Center Disaster on the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's website.

Jonathan Bennett is Public Affairs Director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health

10-26-2006, 02:57 PM
More allegations from EPA whistleblower


Brian Beutler
Published: Thursday October 26, 2006

An Environmental Protection Agency whistleblower who has long argued that her agency failed to issue proper warnings about air quality at the World Trade Center disaster site, has leveled new accusations against the agency, RAW STORY has learned.

As RAW STORY reported this past August, Cate Jenkins, an EPA biochemist, sent a letter to the New York congressional delegation, alleging that the inconsistent official reports about inhalant alkalinity were part of an intentional cover up by government scientists and officials.

Jenkins' latest sixty-page document, addressed to the acting Inspector General of the EPA, is in large part a compilation of her previous allegations, but also claims to offer new evidence that criminal fraud is to blame.

In the latest report, Jenkins contends that by failing to report that some of the particulates in the air constituted a severe health hazard--and by suppressing the results of tests for the presence of other toxic chemicals--the EPA misled the public about the dire health consequences of remaining near ground zero or participating in the clean-up effort in the days following the attack.

Tens of thousands of cases of lung disease have reportedly resulted from exposure to the smoke and debris that hovered in the vicinity of the disaster site for months after the towers collapsed.

Earlier this year, federal judge Deborah Batts ruled that then-EPA director Christine Todd Whitman had misled residents and rescuers when she pronounced that the air quality in lower Manhattan met public safety standards and necessitated neither a surgical mask nor a respirator.

John Manibusan, spokesman for the office of the Inspector General, told RAW STORY that he had not yet received the complaint, but added, “[Jenkins] has issued a number of complaints to our office, about the World Trade Center and other things. We always take a look at them. In some cases we issue a response. How long that takes depends on a lot of factors.”

Manibusan directed Raw to a 2004 official response to earlier Jenkins allegations of a conflict of interest in the peer review of EPA's assesment of ground-zero health hazards. That investigation found that though the “EPA's Contractor did not inquire whether the three panelists had received funding from industry or had publically expressed viewpoints on the issues to be reviewed,” they “did not find that the panel's input was biased,” or “that any of the panelists should have been excluded” from participating.

Jenkins' full memorandom may be read here (http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/epamemocomplaint.pdf).

11-02-2006, 12:36 PM
Nun Dies From Illness She Said Stemmed From 9/11 Dust


November 2, 2006

NEW YORK -- A nun who worked at the World Trade Center site in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks died Wednesday after a battle with lung disease that she said stemmed from inhaling toxic dust at ground zero, according to her lawyer.

Sister Cindy Mahoney volunteered at ground zero to bless the remains of victims.

Attorney David Worby said Mahoney, who was suffering from interstitial lung disease, hoped her story would help prove the connection between exposure to dust at the World Trade Center site and fatal illness.

According to Worby, Mahoney requested that an autopsy be conducted after her death to prove that the toxic dust at ground zero made her sick.

Worby, whose lawsuit against New York City was given a green light last month by a federal judge, said Mahoney's initial autopsy was conducted in South Carolina Wednesday, but that additional tissue samples would be tested in the coming weeks.

11-02-2006, 12:38 PM
very sad....this whole thread.

hopefully the result of the autopsy will get a fire under peoples ass to demand justice.

11-02-2006, 12:43 PM
Here's the original story (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showpost.php?p=67076&postcount=57) that told us about her.

11-02-2006, 01:12 PM
yeah I remember that story....I was wondering what happened to her. Then the other day on blogger they had a video with one of the first responders talking about his ailments and those of others one of whom was the nun, who he said was dying.

11-02-2006, 01:18 PM
Yup. Craig Bartmer who said, "You're not offending me. You're doing the right thing."

11-02-2006, 01:46 PM
yeah thats the one. I get completely teary eyed watching these guys talk. Just a bunch guys trying to make ends meet, doin' the best they can, having to clean up that horrible disaster, having to see 'god-knows-what in the rubble; only to have the government stick it to them.

But yet that Kerry slips up on some stupid joke or that some guy being manhandled at an Allen campaign is found by the mass media to be more news worthy. Sickening

11-03-2006, 08:16 PM
Nun Dies Of Respiratory Disease After Serving At Ground Zero


November 03, 2006

A nun who spent six months working at the World Trade Center site has died.

While the official cause of death has not yet been determined, Sister Cynthia Mahoney believed her lungs were damaged from the six months she spent working as a chaplain and EMT downtown.

The 54-year-old nun died Wednesday at her home in South Carolina.

In interviews, she said she developed asthma, along with respiratory, digestive and lung problems from working at the site.

At her request, her autopsy results will be included in a class action lawsuit filed by first responders.

11-03-2006, 08:18 PM
SC nun who says lung disease from 9/11 sickened her dies


(Aiken-AP) November 3, 2006 - A nun who says her lungs were permanently damaged after spending six months at Ground Zero following the September 11th, 2001, terror attacks died Wednesday.

Sister Cynthia Mahoney was 54 years old.

Shellhouse Funeral Home says she died at her Aiken home.

No cause of death was given, but Mahoney has said she thinks poisoned air at Ground Zero gave her a deadly mix of asthma as well as pulmonary and digestive problems.

Mahoney spent every day for six months after the attacks as a chaplain and an emergency medical technician.

Mahoney's funeral will be Saturday at Shellhouse Funeral Home's chapel in Aiken. A private burial will follow.

11-03-2006, 08:21 PM
Lawyer fights for ‘Ground Zero’ angel


Web posted at: 11/4/2006 1:25:24

new york • A nun who spent months at the site of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, comforting relatives of the dead and blessing body parts, has died of lung disease, her lawyer said yesterday.

David Worby said there was no doubt in Sister Cindy Mahoney’s mind that she had contracted her respiratory illness from sifting through the rubble of the World Trade Center, and he said he would fight to prove the link.

Mahoney, 54, knew she was dying and requested a thorough autopsy be carried out after her death to prove that her symptoms — like those of thousands of people who worked at the site — were linked to working there.

“She said that considering the rest of the city was just calling this a cough and wasn’t recognising the severity, she wanted to make sure that when she died I was personally responsible for having an appropriate autopsy and pathology report” carried out, Worby said.

Five years after the attacks, thousands of workers, residents and rescuers have reported respiratory problems that scientists believe to be linked to the fine particles released from the debris and inhaled deep into the lungs.

Several lawsuits have been filed, notably against the Environmental Protection Agency, which assured residents that the air quality at Ground Zero was safe a week after the attacks.

New York authorities have also come under fire for not forcing people to wear respirators during the recovery and clean-up operations.

An autopsy carried out on a 34-year-old police officer in January for the first time established an official link between respiratory complaints and the hours workers spent sifting through the rubble at Ground Zero.

11-03-2006, 08:25 PM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/11032006/news/regionalnews/ground_zeros__angel_nun_dies_regionalnews_susan_ed elman.htm


November 3, 2006 -- An Episcopal nun who spent five months blessing remains at the World Trade Center died this week and has been granted her dying wish - to be autopsied to prove her lung disease was caused by toxins she inhaled.

Sister Cindy Mahoney, 54 - who became known as the "Angel of Ground Zero" - arranged for the autopsy from her deathbed months ago, hoping to help the cause of 9/11 rescue and recovery workers seeking financial aid and medical care.

"This can't happen over and over and over again," she told David Worby, a lawyer for 8,000 recovery workers in a videotaped statement in August.

"There are people like me who have given up [the struggle to survive]. Because we're asking for help we're made to feel like malingerers.

"Don't let them shut us down," she begged.

The autopsy was performed by Dr. Janice Ross, a pathologist in South Carolina, where she moved in 2002.

The findings will be reviewed by Dr. Michael Baden, the city's former chief medical examiner.

They are waiting for lab results from tissue samples, which are expected in the next two weeks.

The autopsy could prove that WTC dust was deadly - because Mahoney had been a healthy, active, non-smoker. "She came to 9/11 with clean lungs," Worby said.

A New Jersey medical examiner has attributed the death of retired NYPD detective James Zadroga to his time at Ground Zero - the only such ruling so far.

Worby said 81 of the workers he represents in a class-action suit against the city have died, but none was autopsied.

"Her whole life was about helping people," said Mahoney's niece, Elizabeth McManus, 23, who cared for her aunt around the clock in the Aiken, S.C., home of friends.

The big-hearted, feisty Mahoney. a former EMT who grew up in Aiken, became ill and destitute after returning to her hometown from New York.

Two weeks before 9/11, she had been transferred to a lower Manhattan convent, and raced to the Twin Towers when the planes hit.

She spent nearly every day consoling relatives of the dead, blessing body parts, and comforting fellow workers.

About 4 a.m. Wednesday, Mahoney called frantically for her niece.

"I can't breathe. Help me! Help me!" she cried.

"Those last few minutes she was absolutely terrified," the niece said.

Mahoney suffered chronic obstructive lung disease, asthma, and other respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases common to Ground Zero workers, Worby and relatives said.

"She was so sick and suffering so badly, and that's over for her now," McManus said.

"She believed in heaven and would say, 'I'm just waiting to be called home.' "

11-03-2006, 09:41 PM
Judge caps NY City's 9-11 liability at $1 billion



A judge said Friday that thousands of emergency workers expected to claim they were harmed by World Trade Center dust after the Sept. 11 attack may have to share up to $1 billion, the amount he believes is the city's limit on liability.

US District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein indicated he might soon make a formal finding that the liability has a limit and appoint a special master to speed claims so that injured workers can recover money they need to cover their medical expenses.

At least 6,200 lawsuits have been filed by emergency workers. Hellerstein expects between 10,000 and 11,000 people who worked at the Trade Center site will file lawsuits.

The judge said he did not believe the workers can recover additional money from 150 private contractors who worked at the site because the city was ultimately responsible for the work conditions.

Hellerstein told more than 100 lawyers packed in his courtroom that the cap on damages would shorten litigation needs and speed payouts to those who need them.

Otherwise, he said, "we'll die and our children will die and our grandchildren will die before this litigation ends."

The judge said he wanted to lessen the work for lawyers because otherwise a greater proportion than necessary of the $1 billion will go to lawyers rather than victims.

Paul Joseph Napoli, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, first praised the judge's analysis but later said he believed insurance policies held by contractors could add another $500 million to the payouts.

James Tyrrell, a lawyer for the city and the contractors, said it would be "truly a breakthrough" if the plaintiffs agreed that the city's liability was limited to $1 billion.

"How would you respond?" the judge asked him.

"Positively," he answered.

The judge last month ruled that the city, its contractors and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, were only partially immune from lawsuits filed on behalf of workers who cleaned up the World Trade Center debris for months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The lawsuits claimed the city and its contractors were negligent in monitoring the air and assuring appropriate safety in the workplace, particularly adequate respiratory equipment.

11-03-2006, 09:42 PM
If my math is right, $1,000,000,000.00 split evenly between 70,000 is $14,285.71 a piece.

11-12-2006, 09:36 AM
9/11 responders seek options for care


November 12, 2006

Leslie James has spent two years appealing his workers' compensation claim for injuries he suffered fleeing from the World Trade Center and returning a week later to clean up toxic dust from the kitchen nearby where he worked.

The burning around his heart, his difficulty breathing and the plastic kneecap that makes his left leg swell - all stemming from Sept. 11, 2001 - have kept him from working since then.

"This is almost five years going, and I have to live with my three kids, my wife and myself," said James, 52, adding that the only income for the family is his 4-year-old son's $627-monthly disability check. "We use that for wash. We use that for travel. We use that for food."

James, of Crown Heights, and about 400 workers who helped clean up 1.8 million tons of trade center debris, gathered in lower Manhattan yesterday to learn about options for health care and fill out forms guaranteeing their eligibility.

Many said they are hopeful the new Democratic Congress will extend funding for monitoring and treatment.

"We have a large task ahead of us," Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) said.

"But I'm hopeful that with the election returns last Tuesday, we will have a less-deaf Congress and a less-deaf administration."

Without congressional action, federal funds for the treatment of 9/11 first responders will run out in July. Funds to monitor the ill workers are expected to last less than two years.

"The response of the government to the health effects of 9/11 has been disgraceful in the extreme," Nadler said. "The attitude of government has been 'Help us clean up the mess and then we'll throw you overboard.'"

Two bills are pending before Congress: The Remember 9/11 Health Act and the James Zadroga Act.

The first would provide $1.9 billion over five years for monitoring and research, and would provide Medicare benefits for patients. The James Zadroga Act - named for the New York City police officer who was the first 9/11 responder whose death was directly attributed to Ground Zero toxins - would reopen the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund.

Yesterday's event was organized by the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program based at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, which published findings in September showing that 60 percent of Ground Zero workers still suffer health effects, including reduced breathing capacity, pulmonary fibrosis and asbestosis.

Doctors said the worst effects may not surface for years. Prior to the study's release, the program had examined nearly 12,000 first responders.

Thousands more workers have entered the monitoring program since the study was published, bringing the total number of patients to 17,600.

"People coming in now are much sicker," said Dr. Jacqueline Moline, a co-author of the Mount Sinai study. "They've waited five years."

The program will have to notify patients of an impending lack of services in a few months without more funding, she said.

In the meantime, James is surviving day to day, using sample medications from his doctors.

"I have to pray to God that something good will happen," he said.

"When I asked [my doctor] what is happening, she said, 'You are like a ticking time bomb.'"

11-12-2006, 09:37 AM
WTC Rescue Workers Attend Health Conference



(AP) NEW YORK World Trade Center first responders attended a conference today on the health effects of working at the site in aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Doctor Jacqueline Moline of the WTC Medical Monitoring Program says she's seen a lot of patients with persistent breathing problems, sinus congestion and stomach and musculoskeletal problems, possibly from working at ground zero.

First responders gathered at the monitoring program's downtown headquarters, where they were told about services being offered, and places where they can go to treatment.

The program has already performed free medical screenings to 32,000 first responders. For the next five years, people who participate in the program receive comprehensive and confidential medical examinations at regular intervals.

11-12-2006, 09:42 AM
Gathering of heroes & help at last



For many World Trade Center responders who have fallen ill after toiling in the toxic haze of 9/11, getting medical care and paying those bills has been a struggle.

But hundreds of Ground Zero heroes got a helping hand yesterday at a conference that provided one-stop shopping for medical and legal services.

The gathering - a block from Ground Zero at the headquarters of DC 37, the city's biggest union - also empowers ailing workers because they realize they are not alone in their suffering, said Dr. Stephen Levin of Mount Sinai Medical Center, which has been monitoring and treating thousands of first responders.

"If it weren't for the existence of these treatment programs, many of these people wouldn't have access to care," Levin said.

Among the estimated 40,000 Ground Zero responders, thousands have been stricken, according to a landmark study unveiled by Mount Sinai in September.

Among them is Andy Scallo, 45, a heavy equipment operator who worked for three months on the smoldering pile.

Scallo now suffers from multiple sclerosis and may soon have to quit his job, he said.

"I was here to help my country. Now I'm sick," Scallo said. "My doctor tells me in two years, I won't be walking."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said the federal government must do more to treat Ground Zero heroes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released the first batch of federal funds - $40 million - for treatment, not merely health monitoring.

Nadler is pushing legislation to provide medical care for responders through Medicare, "so that the heroes of 9/11 are treated like heroes and not inconvenient people to be forgotten."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) has introduced legislation to reopen the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund to pay for their medical bills.

With Democrats set to take over of both houses of Congress in January, "we really have an opportunity to do right by the heroes of 9/11," said Maloney's spokesman, Joe Soldevere.

11-18-2006, 01:50 AM
No to Planned Guidelines on 9/11-Related Autopsies


Published: November 18, 2006

The federal government has abandoned efforts to create standardized autopsy guidelines to help determine whether deaths of people who worked at ground zero during recovery operations in 2001 and 2002 can be conclusively connected to the hazardous smoke and dust they breathed there.

The guidelines were supposed to be sent to doctors nationwide to avoid the kind of confusion that resulted earlier this year after a New Jersey coroner concluded that the death of James Zadroga, a New York City police detective, had been caused by exposure to the hazardous air at ground zero, the first such official finding for anyone who worked at the site.

While Mr. Zadroga’s family and colleagues saw the autopsy report as clear proof connecting his death to the dust at the World Trade Center site, experts were troubled because certain specialized tests that might have identified material found in the detective’s lungs had not been performed. The proposed federal guidelines would have laid out methods for taking and analyzing tissue samples from workers in the New York area and across the country. The draft document also established a process for reaching a conclusion about the cause of death.

Autopsy reports often are presented as evidence in civil suits seeking to establish liability. But medical experts outside the federal government who were asked to review the proposal expressed concern that guidelines could be seen as an attempt to assess liability for diseases linked to the dust rather than an effort to find scientific answers that could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment.

They said the proposed autopsy procedures would not provide conclusive results and would be subject to inappropriate use by plaintiffs in the thousands of lawsuits filed against the city and its contractors by injured workers.

“The draft document could be misinterpreted or misapplied, hindering rather than furthering progress in addressing W.T.C. health concerns,” the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said in a note posted on its Web site yesterday afternoon.

In place of the proposed autopsy protocols, the federal government intends to have the New York State Departmentcupational Safety and Healthf the long-term health effects of exposure to the contaminants in the air at ground zero.

“From our evaluation of the independent reviews, it appears that other avenues are more likely to achieve our goal, and that of our partners, of reducing uncertainties in assessing W.T.C. health effects,” the note on the institute’s Web site explained.

Medical studies have shown that many of the 40,000 people who worked at ground zero are now suffering from respiratory ailments and some doctors fear they could develop more serious diseases in the future.

The institute’s director, Dr. John Howard, who is the official in charge of coordinating the federal response to ground zero-related health issues, had made the development of standard autopsy procedures a priority as he tried to establish the extent of the health risks facing those who worked on the trade center cleanup.

Dr. Howard could not be reached for comment. But his spokesman, Fred Blosser, said that although Dr. Howard had considered the guidelines a promising concept, he changed his mind after the external reviewers reported that “they didn’t believe scientifically that this would give us meaningful information to accomplish what we want to accomplish, which is to shed light on the long-term health effects of working at ground zero.”

One of those reviewers was Dr. David J. Prezant, chief medical officer of the New York City Fire Department. In a copy of his written comments to the draft guidelines, Dr. Prezant said that only a large-scale epidemiological study that analyzes the medical history of many workers would yield the kind of information Dr. Howard was seeking.

He also noted that the collection and detailed microscopic analysis of tissue samples recommended in the guidelines could only be done in specialized laboratories and pathology centers, which were not named in the draft.

11-19-2006, 01:33 PM
9/11 Autopsy Guidelines Plan Abandoned


By LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, November 18, 2006 04 53 PM

(11-18) 16:53 PST New York (AP) -- An effort to create standard autopsy guidelines that could document a link between toxic air at ground zero and deaths of 9/11 rescue workers has been abandoned by the federal government amid concerns the information collected could be misinterpreted.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in a note posted Friday on its Web site, said the agency "instead will pursue other avenues for documenting long-term health effects from exposure to air contaminants from the World Trade Center disaster."

Outside medical experts who reviewed the plan suggested focusing on monitoring epidemiological patterns of disease in those exposed.

In a Sept. 15 draft, the institute proposed examining specific sections of the lungs and creating a "tissue bank" to preserve certain organs and bodily fluids for later testing.

The institute said reviewers had raised several questions, including concerns that "the draft document could be misinterpreted or misapplied, hindering rather than furthering progress in addressing WTC health concerns."

"This study has many insurmountable barriers to overcome," wrote Dr. David J. Prezant, chief medical officer for the city Fire Department. Prezant, whose review was posted on the Web site, said one of those barriers was the "politics of causality," a reference to pending lawsuits filed against the city by injured workers.

Because autopsy results are often used in civil lawsuits, the results collected by the institute — while intended as a scientific study — could be used as a trial tool for lawyers and others with an "undeniable self-interest" in the cause of death, Prezant said.

The collapse of the twin towers sent thick plumes of concrete dust, fiberglass, asbestos and lead into the air in lower Manhattan. The tainted air was taken in by thousands of ground zero workers in the weeks after the terrorist attack that killed 2,749 people.

The guidelines were intended to be used nationwide in cases such as the death of New York City police detective James Zadroga, who died last January. Zadroga spent 470 hours working amid the toxic fumes, and fell ill within weeks.

An autopsy found the 34-year-old detective died as a result of ground zero exposure, finding that there was material "consistent with dust" found in his lungs.

11-21-2006, 07:54 PM
Extended Interview: Researcher Discusses Health of 9/11 First Responders
Philip Landrigan, chairman of the Community and Preventive Medicine Department at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York, discusses the department's recent report on the health of 9/11 first responders.



TOM BEARDEN: Mt. Sinai has just completed a major study of the people who responded to the World Trade Center. What did you find?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: Well, we reported on about 9,200 workers: firefighters, police, construction workers, other responders at the World Trade Center site. The major finding that we recorded was that approximately 60 percent of these people had developed new respiratory symptoms since starting work at Ground Zero.

TOM BEARDEN: Sixty percent is significant.

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: Sixty percent is very significant and it's much higher than we would expect in the general American population. And our assessment of the severity of the situation was heightened by the finding that in roughly two-thirds of these people the signs and symptoms were so persistent two or three years later.

TOM BEARDEN: What kind of problems did you find?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: Well, first of all we found upper respiratory problems. Very ... nasty, very acute sinusitis in a lot of these folks. And then also lower respiratory problems -- cough, wheeze.

And then objectively going beyond just symptoms, we actually did what are called pulmonary function tests where people are asked to blow hard and fast into a tube and measure how much air they move in a given period of time. And we found lots of evidence in that test for pulmonary restriction, which is to say shrinkage in the volume of the lungs. And in one particular test the frequency for evidence of restriction was five times what we would expect in the general population of the U.S.

TOM BEARDEN: We spoke with two police detectives -- one who has cancer, has leukemia, and the other who has lost 50 percent of his kidney function. Is it possible to attribute those sorts of problems to Ground Zero?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: Up until now we've been focusing on two things -- respiratory problems and mental health problems. Because it was clear to all of us that those were the two categories of disease that were going to be most important in the first five years after the attacks.

Now that we've gotten past the five-year point and we're moving into the period of time when you would begin to expect to see diseases that have a long [incubation] period, we're actually engaged in a process right now to develop criteria for which other diseases such as cancer, such as chronic lung disease, such as kidney disease, such as other diseases like he included on that list.

TOM BEARDEN: But it's too early to know for sure?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: We're working to get it right because all recognize that it's very important that the list has to be accurate. We have to be sure to provide benefits to anybody who deserves benefits and we don't want to make any mistakes.

Range of illnesses
TOM BEARDEN: Of the 60 percent of the people that you've identified so far, how would you characterize the seriousness of the problems that they've suffered?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: There's a range of course, and what we found was that the people who had the most serious disease are the people who were there first. The people who actually were engulfed in the dust cloud that we all saw on TV on 9/11 are far and away the most seriously affected.

Then the next most seriously affected are the folks who arrived in the first 24 hours but missed the actual dust cloud. Next most seriously affected are the people who arrived 24 or 48 or 72 hours after the events, and so on down.

And actually the fact that there is that internal gradient -- that internal dose response -- strengthens our feeling that this is a true cause and effect relationship that we're seeing.

We think that the likely cause ... of all the respiratory problems lies in the chemical nature of the dust. The major component of the World Trade Center dust was pulverized concrete. Cement. Which was very, very alkaline. Had a pH of 10 or 11, which means that the alkalinity of this material is equivalent to that of Drano.

And moreover it was in finely particulate form, so that when people inhaled this stuff it actually had the capacity to adhere to the lining of the trachea, the bronchi, and even -- because it was small -- moved on into the depths of these people's lungs.

And we think that's why the material was so incredibly toxic per unit weight. Then of course in addition to the pulverized cement, there were billions and billions of microscopic shards of glass from all the blown out windows and various chemical contaminants.

TOM BEARDEN: An attorney who represents some of those people who are involved in a class action suit believes there was perhaps an accelerating in the mixture of the chemicals and so forth that was in the cloud that might make these more serious diseases appear more quickly. Is that possible?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: It's possible. We certainly know of other instances of synergy, acceleration between chemicals. The classic example that was recognized 30 years ago ... was the synergy that existed between asbestos and cigarette smoke. We know that asbestos workers who smoke cigarettes had much more lung disease, specifically much more lung cancer, than asbestos workers who didn't smoke. So the notion of plausibility is certainly real and we need to explore it in the case of 9/11 people.

TOM BEARDEN: Is there a timeframe -- that a clock is ticking right now, if you will -- that will require a period of time for studies to link directly to cause and effect, or is that pretty much established now?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: I would consider it quite well established in the case of the pulmonary disease that we're seeing, and quite well established in the case of the mental health problems that we're seeing. And still a work in progress for some of the other conditions.

TOM BEARDEN: How long would the other conditions take to become apparent scientifically?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: That is not entirely certain. And the thing is here, we just don't know with any absolute certainty how many years it will take for various other diseases to appear in these folks. Will it be one year, three, five, 10, 20?

We know for example in the case of the cancers caused by asbestos that they can appear as long as four and five decades after the fact. That's probably longer than most, but still gives you a sense of the time frame that we're operating in. So I think our responsibility as doctors who are caring for these people is to continue to examine them conscientiously, to continue to publish our reports every couple of years as new data become available, and continuously to sift the evidence and see what the connections are.

And at the same ... we need to work with the folks who are appropriating new funds to make sure that this is a study with uninterrupted stream of funding, to support these examinations so that we're in a position to see new diseases as they appear.

Funding of health evaluations
TOM BEARDEN: Do you think that there's a danger that the government -- state, local and federal -- might forget about this and that that steady funding stream that you think is so important might dry up?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: I don't think there's a real risk that government will forget the workers of 9/11. These folks are national heroes. They rushed into the scene at Ground Zero hours after the attack on the towers and some of them continued to labor there for six months. I think that ... at all levels of government, city, state and federal, there is such support for continuing evaluations for these workers. I simply cannot conceive that it would go away.

TOM BEARDEN: Those two first responders I mentioned earlier told us about how they went home with this stuff all over their clothes, and they took it home and their families were exposed to it. Are you concerned about health risks to those people secondarily as well?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: Well, there have been numerous examples recorded in occupational medicine of people carrying toxins home with them from the workplace to cause illness in their families. It's been seen in lead workers, it's been seen in asbestos workers, it's been seen in workers in pesticide plants. And so yes, we need to be concerned in this instance.

TOM BEARDEN: Can you put a number on the number of people we might be talking about here ultimately?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: We have reasonable estimates of the number of people who worked at Ground Zero and at the other sites that were directly exposed to the dust, such as the Fresh Kills Landfill, and it's somewhere between probably 40,000 and 60 or 70,000.

We're working right now with the city health department to refine that number. What's more difficult to calculate is the total number of people outside the workplace in ... Manhattan who were exposed to the dust. The city health department has set up a registry and they're working very hard to try to come up with a very accurate estimate of that.

TOM BEARDEN: Is it possible to say what the lower and upper numbers of those might be?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: I'd rather not commit at this point.

Reaching out to workers
DAVID STEPHEN: As science goes through its process of determining what happened and what to do about it, is there a risk that people may die in the meantime because they're getting sicker faster than anybody anticipated?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: Well, I think one of the very strong arguments for continuing the medical monitoring and medical follow-up of the responders at the World Trade Center is that we need to be in a position to document any accelerated occurrence of disease. So I think it's a good idea that we should see each of these people every one to two years, that way if any disease of rapid onset is developing, we'll pick it up early.

And picking it up early has two benefits. First off it means that we can put those people on treatment as soon as we pick up their disease, and secondly, early detection means that we'll be in a position as rapidly as possible to recognize emerging patterns of disease so that we can consider interventions that go beyond the treatment of the individual worker.

DAVID STEPHEN: So the solution then is to monitor and to pick up any problems [in] as many people as possible on an ongoing basis?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: Absolutely. Yes, the solution to the risk of early emergence of disease is continuing follow-up -- periodic exams every one to two years, continuing surveillance of the data so that we're in a position to observe patterns as they develop, and then of course intervention.

DAVID STEPHEN: How do you reach those folks who may not want to know, and they're worried about going to see a doctor?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: Well you know, in all my years as a doctor, one of the constant struggles is to persuade people who are fearful of the medical profession to come in for examinations ... it becomes very important that we as physicians reach out to those people, that we persuade them that we need to overcome that fear of examination, come in and be checked.

And the reason that it's important that they be checked is not that they be given bad news, but rather that we're then in a position to intervene quickly and effectively to minimize the risk of disease, or minimize the risk of premature death.

We have developed a very active program of outreach to the workers who were down at Ground Zero and we're constantly sending out messages. We're doing some in multiple languages because we realize that the workers came from many different backgrounds and a very substantial [part of] our budget is for this outreach effort. We take it very seriously.

Learning from the past
DAVID STEPHEN: Some people see some historical precedence for what's happening here. They see it in the atomic veterans who were exposed to fallout from the nuclear attacks. They see it in the dioxin issues. They see it in Gulf War syndrome. They see it in Agent Orange and it seems to them at least that science is always about 10 years or 20 years behind in terms of determining who got hurt by what and who's going to pay for all this treatment. Is that something that, that's happening here too?

PHILIP LANDRIGAN: I think we've learned from past crises. For example, I sat on federal advisory boards on dioxin. I was a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission under President Clinton on Gulf War veterans' illnesses. The medical profession has learned from those past experiences how to mobilize in the aftermath of this kind of disaster, how to separate truth from untruth, how to focus resources to the benefit of patients.

And I would argue that the response here has been much more rapid, much more focused and much more compassionate than it was in any of the previous crises. I mean we were starting to see patients -- World Trade Center responders -- within a month or so of September 11th, 2001, and the pace we're seeing patients has only accelerated since that time. We've seen now a total of over 17,000 patients at Mt. Sinai and the fire department has seen another 13 or 14,000. So roughly 30,000 between us. That's an extraordinary response and unmatched by anything that I can recall in any of the previous events that you mentioned.

11-21-2006, 08:00 PM
I don't think there's a real risk that government will forget the workers of 9/11. These folks are national heroes. They rushed into the scene at Ground Zero hours after the attack on the towers and some of them continued to labor there for six months. I think that ... at all levels of government, city, state and federal, there is such support for continuing evaluations for these workers. I simply cannot conceive that it would go away.


11-27-2006, 09:51 AM
A Push to Include 9/11 Health in Upcoming Presidential Budget Proposal
Reps. Maloney and Fossella are joined by 25 colleagues in bipartisan call for funding, federal plan


WASHINGTON, DC – As the White House prepares an FY2008 budget proposal to be released early next year, 27 bipartisan Members of Congress are asking President Bush to include robust funding for comprehensive medical monitoring and treatment of those made sick by the toxic air around Ground Zero (letter to Bush). The group, led by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Vito Fossella (R-NY), also urged the president to direct the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a plan for the federal response to the 9/11 Health Crisis.

“Just because the fifth anniversary of 9/11 has passed and the attention is elsewhere doesn’t mean that the 9/11 Health Crisis is going away,” said Maloney. “The men and women who breathed in the toxic air around Ground Zero will be feeling the serious effects for many years, and the federal response needs to reflect that. The federal government needs to view this as a long-term issue, as the doctors have testified, and it needs a plan that includes regular and serious funding in the federal budget to provide help to these heroes.”

Fossella said, “We have made progress over the last year to begin getting the resources necessary to help our 9/11 heroes. However, we now need a significant investment by the federal government into health monitoring and treatment for those who are sick or injured. In addition, the federal government must develop a comprehensive plan to address the health impacts of 9/11.”

In October, $52 million, the very first federal dollars for the treatment of those suffering from 9/11-related illness, was released by the Department of Health and Human Services. Secretary Michael Leavitt has acknowledged that this money was only a “down payment,” and doctors who have monitored sick responders have testified before Congress that the crisis must be viewed as a problem that will persist for a few decades, not just a few years.

Signing the letter to Bush were: Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Vito Fossella (R-NY), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Diane Watson (D-CA), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), John Sweeney (R-NY), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Steve Israel (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Christopher Shays (R-CT), Tim Bishop (D-NY), Thad McCotter (R-MI), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Michael McNulty (D-NY), Howard Berman (D-CA), Jos Serrano (D-NY), Ed Towns (D-NY), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Major Owens (D-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ), John Conyers (D-MI), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Gregory Meeks (D-NY).

11-30-2006, 12:26 PM
Death by Dust
The frightening link between the 9-11 toxic cloud and cancer


by Kristen Lombardi
November 28th, 2006 5:22 PM

(Gold9472: Too long to post... read the link.)

11-30-2006, 09:44 PM
9/11 Workers Get Help From College Center


by Liz Rhoades, Managing Editor

When it starts a new program in a few weeks, a Queens health monitoring center will give hope to ailing emergency responders and other people who worked at the World Trade Center site following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Queens College’s Center for the Biology of Natural Systems has been awarded a federal $1.1 million grant from the National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health to evaluate and treat individuals suffering from World Trade Center related health conditions. The center has provided health monitoring exams for over 1,000 former ground zero workers since 2004.

“We are very happy about the funding,” said Dr. Steven Markowitz, director of the center, which is located at 163 03 Horace Harding Expressway in Flushing. “Now we can provide the health care directly.”

Legal paperwork is holding up the opening, but in a few weeks it is expected to be ready, with an increased staff of one or two. The current staff of 10 includes an occupational health physician and a lung doctor. Some cases will be referred to other specialists.

When the World Trade Center collapsed, no one thought about major health risks for the rescue and cleanup workers. “It was a terribly unsafe place to work,” Markowitz said. “Some workers didn’t have much respiratory protection, but the government told them it was safe.”

Although the health conditions vary, the center has seen patients suffering from throat and sinus problems, acid reflux and mental health issues, but mostly lung and upper airway problems.

There have been some cancer cases, but the director said there is not enough evidence to connect them to the fallout from the World Trade Center. “It’s difficult, because there is no smoking gun,” he said. “Respiratory cases are easier to confirm.”

He noted that some workers got sick right away while others weren’t affected for months. Even people working on the perimeter of the devastation have been affected, he noted.

“We have seen a lot of sick people from Queens,” Markowitz said. “A quarter of all those screened here lived in Queens at the time (of the terrorist attack).”

He expects people previously untested, who worked at ground zero, to come into the center. “We encourage it,” he added.

Although the federal grant is only for one year, Markowitz is hopeful that it will be extended. Patient monitoring, however, through periodic health exams will continue through May 2009.

The Center for the Biology of Natural Systems was started in 1981 and focuses on environmental and occupational health research. Earlier this year, it received a $19.5 million federal grant to expand its lung cancer screening project.

The group also has a mobile lab to test air quality in neighborhoods with high asthma rates and reaches out to day laborers, mainly immigrants, through a Woodside based community outreach center.

Markowitz is an internist and occupational health physician. He joined the center in 1998 and became its director in 2000.

Reflecting on the ground zero cleanup effort, he noted that there was extra pressure to get the work done, under unhealthy conditions. “The irony is everything is back to normal and now the site just sits there. What was the hurry?”

The World Trade Center treatment program is free to all ground zero responders who are enrolled or eligible for enrollment in the medical monitoring program. For more information, call Lauri Boni at (718) 670 4191. For an appointment, call (718) 670 4216.

12-01-2006, 11:21 PM
State Lawmakers Ask President For 9/11 Health Care Funding


December 01, 2006

Senator Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Edward Kennedy wrote a letter to President George W. Bush Friday, to make sure those suffering 9/11 related health problems get adequate funding in the president's 2008 budget proposal.

Studies show that 70 percent of World Trade Center responders have new or worsened respiratory problems caused by their work at the site. The letter also requests money from the Department of Health to cover a funding gap until federal legislation is passed.

12-02-2006, 11:09 PM
Kevin Barrett Interviews Les Jamieson
Thanks to www.rbnlive.com

Part I
Click Here (http://mp3.rbnlive.com/Barrett/0612/20061202_Sat_Barrett1.mp3)

Part II
Click Here (http://mp3.rbnlive.com/Barrett/0612/20061202_Sat_Barrett2.mp3)

The topic of discussion is the environmental impact of 9/11 (http://www.911blogger.com/taxonomy/term/1292).

12-03-2006, 10:50 AM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/12032006/news/regionalnews/federal_robe_of_city_1b_9_11_fund_regionalnews_sus an_edelman.htm

(Gold9472: Scumbags.)

December 3, 2006 -- The federal Department of Homeland Security has launched an investigation into the city's $1 billion World Trade Center insurance company, which has spent more than $50 million fighting claims by ailing 9/11 responders.

The probe will look into charges by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, spurred by reports in The Post, that the company has violated congressional intent and misspent federal money to dispute more than 6,400 claims.

"I can confirm we are looking into the issues raised by Rep. Nadler," said Tamara Faulkner, a spokeswoman for the department's inspector general, Richard Skinner.

Faulkner said a team of inspectors with subpoena power will scrutinize the WTC Captive Insurance Co, which manages $1 billion Congress approved to pay claims against the city and its contractors from the WTC cleanup.

A report is expected in six to eight months.

The company, governed by five Bloomberg administration officials, would not comment last week, but has argued it has a "duty to defend" against the claims.

Records obtained by The Post show the company has spent more than $50 million on overhead, consultants and fees as of Sept. 30, including $32.9 million on law firms.

12-04-2006, 01:26 PM
Time running out for WTC workers


Monday, December 4, 2006

Tens of thousands of paid workers and volunteers participated in rescue, recovery or cleanup efforts following the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

But only a fraction of them have registered with the New York State Workers' Compensation Board to remain eligible for workers' compensation benefits if they get sick down the line.

They have until mid-August to register, under a New York state law signed by Gov. George E. Pataki.

"I think that there are upward of 100,000 people who are eligible under this program," including thousands of New Jersey residents, said Jonathan Bennett, spokesman for the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. The nonprofit group provides occupational safety and health training, advocacy and information to workers and unions in the New York metro area.

The new law gives people more time to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits if they register before Aug. 14, 2007, according to a New York state statement on the Web.

If you're already ill, you can file a claim for worker's compensation after registering, according to a fact sheet on the Web.

The Rev. Denise P. Mantell of Matawan, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church there, said she plans to register.

"I'm glad that ... the powers that be have pushed through the ... needs of the people" and many "will get help that they need," Mantell said.

She developed lung cancer after spending hundreds of hours volunteering and helping people at or close to the World Trade Center site. She's had surgery to remove a malignant tumor as well as chemotherapy.

"I'm doing pretty good," Mantell said.

The reason the law changed is that in many cases, the symptoms people developed as a result of working at ground zero "did not reveal themselves until significant time later," said Jon A. Sullivan, spokesman for the New York State Workers' Compensation Board in Albany.

The collapse of the World Trade Center towers released tremendous quantities of smoke, dust and gases into the air, studies say. Ground zero fires, which released more pollutants, burned for more than three months.

Thousands of rescue and recovery workers and volunteers have had respiratory and other ailments, as an estimated 40,000 were exposed to caustic dust and toxic contaminants, according to experts.

About 18,000 people have been examined as part of a multi-clinic medical monitoring program coordinated by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, according to Dr. Iris Udasin1 and information on the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program Web site.

As of the end of October, 1,445 people from New Jersey had gone to clinics, said Udasin, an associate professor and director of employee health at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine in Piscataway.

Probably about half of the 1,445 have gone to the institute's Clinical Center, said Udasin, an East Brunswick resident.

Dozens from Monmouth and Ocean counties have been examined there, she has said.

12-05-2006, 08:00 PM
Key Senator Backs Aid For 9/11 Workers
California Democrat Barbara Boxer Endorses Clinton Plan To Help Sick Ground Zero Workers



(AP) The U.S. government should provide health care for sick ground zero workers, the incoming head of the Senate's environment committee said Tuesday, vigorously endorsing presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's plan for a long-term care program for workers who fell sick after removing the debris of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack sites.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, in a wide-ranging discussion as she prepares to become chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee next month, told The Associated Press that sick ground zero workers deserve long-term care.

"We are taking care of the families who lost loved ones and nobody complains about that," Boxer told the AP. "Why wouldn't we take care of the people who are surviving and coughing and sick — and dying, I might add — as a result of their work? To me it's clear, I don't have any hesitation about what our obligation is."

Boxer's declaration is a big boost to sick workers and New York lawmakers, including Clinton and New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, who have badgered the Republican Congress and the Bush administration for years to do more for those who toiled on the toxic debris pile.

The soon-to-chairwoman also indicated she would follow Clinton's lead on the issue. In the new Democratic Senate, Clinton will chair a subcommittee under Boxer on environmental clean up issues.

"This is Hillary's domain, and I have told her I will be supporting everything that she and Chuck want to do," Boxer said.

Doctors found thousands of ground zero workers suffered a variety of ailments, principally lung and gastrointestinal disorders. The demands for treatment grew more urgent after the January death of 34-year-old former NYPD detective James Zadroga was blamed on his exposure at the site.

Clinton has estimated that each sick worker would need an average of about $5,800 a year in health care.

After Sept. 11, 2001, the government spent $90 million on health monitoring programs and this year spent an additional $75 million — the first federal dollars specifically for treatment. Health experts estimate that funding could run out in about a year.

"If you worked in a federally declared disaster area as a worker and you suffered harm," Boxer said, "you should have the help that you need in the immediate time to get well and then a follow-on through your whole life. It's no different really than putting yourself on the line in the military."

Boxer declared 9/11 health care "unfinished business," saying: "We definitely owe them the help to get well, yes, because they were down there because we were attacked."

Last September, just after the fifth anniversary of the attacks, Clinton offered an amendment on the Senate floor proposing a $2 billion program to provide health care for sick ground zero workers and lower Manhattan residents affected by the debris from the crushed remnants of the World Trade Center.

Boxer spoke in support of that legislation, chastising Republicans for praising first responders but not paying more for their care, saying on the Senate floor at the time: "Words are cheap."

A study of nearly 10,000 ground zero workers by Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York found most suffered some lung problems and many would remain sick the rest of their lives.

12-06-2006, 09:58 AM
9/11 first responders to speak at Pitt State



Although the 9/11 attacks occurred over five years ago, the stories of those who put themselves in danger are still vivid.

Two first responders to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City will be sharing their stories at 7 p.m. today at the Pittsburg State University Overman Student Center Crimson and Gold Ballroom.

The public is invited to attend the presentation, which will feature former National Guardsman David Miller and former New York policeman Craig Bartmer.

Miller and Bartmer will share their experiences and stories from the rescue missions and the health problems, caused by the rubble of the attacks, that are currently affecting both men. The men will also talk about the current push for a deeper investigation into the attacks, the rescue attempts and those affected by their involvement in the event.

The presentation is sponsored by The Constitutional Freedom Society of Pittsburg.

There is no charge for the event.

12-06-2006, 04:10 PM
EPA: Final WTC cleanup to begin in 2007


December 6, 2006, 2:55 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will launch its final Sept. 11 contamination cleanup program next month, more than five years after the attacks and following years of criticism the agency still has not done enough.

The $7 million (€5.3 million) cleanup will test indoor spaces in lower Manhattan and will allow residents and building owners to have the air and dust in their living spaces tested for four contaminants linked to debris from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.

The four contaminants are asbestos, fiberglass, lead, and polycyclic armoatic hydrocarbons.

The testing program's two-month registration period will begin in January, officials said.

"It is time to begin this final phase in EPA's response to the terrorist attacks of September 11," the agency's regional administrator, Alan Steinberg, said in a statement.

"The vast majority of occupied residential and commercial spaces in lower Manhattan have been repeatedly cleaned, and we believe the potential for exposure related to dust that may remain from the collapse of the World Trade Center building is low," said EPA official Dr. George Gray.

Officials could not say whether the new testing and cleaning program would be larger or smaller than the EPA effort in 2002 and 2003, which visited more than 4,000 units. They said the amount of testing and cleanup would depend largely on how many people call the agency's hotline to sign up for testing, but noted the cleanup cost is expected to be about $4 per square foot.

The announcement comes a day after the incoming head of the Senate Environment Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrast, said she would push for full health coverage for ground zero workers sickened by their time at the disaster site.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, both Democrats, have led a chorus of New York lawmakers complaining that the EPA did not live up to its responsibilities to protect public health in the hours, days, and months after Sept. 11.

The issue has also spawned an ongoing lawsuit in federal court against the EPA and then-administrator Christie Todd Whitman.

Nadler angrily dismissed the testing plan announced Wednesday.

"It's the same crap, the same phony cleanup, like the phony cleanup they did back in 2002," fumed Nadler, whose congressional district includes the ground zero site.

He has long argued that the testing area in lower Manhattan is arbitrary and does not reflect how far the dust traveled.

"We now have a Democratic majority in the Congress, and we will be holding hearings about this," Nadler said.

Clinton has called the EPA's new testing plan "incredibly frustrating and disappointing" because it does not expand the area tested. She charges that the agency "is essentially throwing up its hands and washing them of this problem."

The lawmakers' fight with the administration on 9/11 health matters began after the EPA asserted within days of the terrorist attacks that the dust from 1.8 million tons of World Trade Center debris posed no public health threat.

An inspector general's investigation concluded those assurances were issued after the agency was pressured by White House officials.

12-07-2006, 09:50 AM
9/11 responders speak at PSU



Many first responders to the 9/11 attacks in New York risked their lives to save others.

But now, many of those rescue workers are fighting for their own lives.

David Miller and Craig Bartmer both responded to the World Trade Center attacks.

Miller and Bartmer made the trip to Pittsburg Wednesday night to speak at Pittsburg State University about the health problems both are facing, which occurred after their involvement with the 9/11 rescue attempts.

"My personal message is that first responders are sick," Bartmer said. "I'm watching my friend David die. There are 8,500 people on one lawsuit alone, 400 which have rare cancers. But we have the city (New York City) and EPA saying it's not related. We're trying to rally support. We are trying to start a charity called 9/11 Care charity."

Miller and Bartmer are now traveling to spread their message to others.

Rebaccah Cereses, a documentary film maker, is also traveling with the men to help bring their stories to life and express the need for health care and support.

"This is not just a New York City problem," Cereses said. "It's a problem for our entire country. These first responders are not being treated with the respect they deserve. I can't sit back and do nothing while these people were so courageous."

Cereses said she got on board with the men's mission after hearing about the deadly diseases and conditions many first responders are now facing.

Mary Beth Norris said she had no idea many first responders were in such bad shape.

Norris, who attended the presentation, said she heard about the issue through her son, a student at PSU.

"It makes me wonder if we're not getting the whole truth," Norris said. "I wouldn't have known about all this if it wasn't for my son."

Bartmer said he is not speaking out for people's sympathy or money, he simply wants people to know about the terrible conditions facing thousands of first responders, people who risked their life for others and now cannot get the help they so desperately need.

12-08-2006, 09:10 AM
9/11 dust cleanup draws criticism
Plan to remove contaminants from buildings in N.Y. is similar to one rejected in 2005


New York Times

NEW YORK — More than five years after contaminated dust from the World Trade Center seeped into apartments and offices throughout Lower Manhattan, the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced plans this week to start a final indoor cleanup program next month, despite widespread criticism that the program is seriously flawed.

Agency officials said residents and owners of commercial buildings south of Canal Street would have 60 days to sign up for the voluntary program, which will test for asbestos, lead, vitreous fibers and harmful soot that may have come from the collapse of the trade center.

If any one of the contaminants is found, the space will be professionally cleaned at no cost to the resident or owner.

The new program is almost identical to one that was rejected in November 2005 as inadequate by the agency's advisory panel of experts, as well as by community groups, labor unions and the city's congressional delegation. The City Council passed a resolution condemning that program, calling it "technically and scientifically flawed."

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who in 2004 forced the environmental agency to test indoor spaces for contamination, called the program announced Wednesday "totally inadequate."

In a statement, she said she would use her chairmanship of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health in the new Congress to press for a more comprehensive testing and cleaning program.

In early 2005, the agency considered a broader program that would have used statistically based mapping to learn the extent of the contamination, following it outside Manhattan if needed. Under that program, If any dust could be conclusively linked to the trade center collapse, entire buildings, not individual apartments or offices, were to be vacuumed and wiped down to prevent recontamination from spaces that had not been cleaned.

The agency abandoned that program late last year when it could not devise a reliable way to identify trade center dust. It substituted a pared down program that would only test individual apartments in Lower Manhattan and clean only those where contamination was found. However, when community residents objected to the program as insufficient, the agency agreed to continue looking for a method of identifying dust from the twin towers.

On Wednesday, Alan J. Steinberg, regional administrator for the agency, said that effort had taken most of the last year but no viable method was found.

Paul J. Lioy, an environmental scientist at Rutgers who was a member of the advisory panel, said the program, though flawed, could do some good. "At least something is finally being done. If there is residual dust, we'll be able to find it."

12-18-2006, 03:18 PM
Money For 9/11 First Responder Health Care Running Out


December 18, 2006

Local lawmakers say the federal money paying the medical bills of September 11th first responders is running out.

Senator Clinton, Congressman Maloney and Congressman Fossella met with federal health officials today, who told them that government funding will run dry next year.

The legislators are calling for the president to add short term funds to keep the program going. And Senator Clinton introduced a bill that calls for $1.9 billion of long term federal aid. She is confident the new Democratic majority will approve the funds.

12-19-2006, 11:13 AM
9/11 First Responder Says Insurance Company Waiting For Him To Die
Thanks to www.rawstory.com (http://www.rawstory.com/)

Click Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O5ZgR0vzO0&eurl=)

01-01-2007, 02:45 PM

Click Here (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/fdpdny.mov) (10MB MOV)

Does everyone remember those individuals wearing FDNY and NYPD hats in honor of the fallen heroes from 9/11? Where are those people now? The other heroes of 9/11 are now sick and dying, and need their support more than ever. That's the premise of this little film. The music is "Where do we go from here" from a live performance of Chicago back in 1972 at Carnegie Hall.

01-05-2007, 10:11 AM
9/11 care for residents who can’t cough up cash


By Skye H. McFarlane

Dr. Joan Reibman is a busy woman. So busy, in fact, that she didn’t have time to come up with a job title for the work she does at the Bellevue Hospital World Trade Center Care Center, the 9/11 health clinic that will officially reopen this month with expanded space and services, thanks to a $16 million, five-year infusion of cash from the city.

“She runs it,” clinic program director Kymara Kyng said of Reibman’s involvement, shrugging her shoulders.

“So, I guess I’m the ‘runner,’” replied the energetic Reibman, flashing a smile. In addition to running the clinic, Reibman, a pulmonary (lung) specialist, is also the medical director of Bellevue’s Asthma Clinic and its associated research laboratory.

It was Reibman’s experience in treating asthma and other lung conditions that led her to become involved in post-9/11 health care, eventually creating the only treatment program that is open to the people who lived and worked in Lower Manhattan on or immediately after 9/11.

Other screening, monitoring and treatment programs for 9/11-related health conditions, such as those run by the Fire Department and Mt. Sinai Hospital, have strict eligibility requirements and are open only to first responders, cleanup workers and volunteers who worked in and around the World Trade Center site.

“There is the feeling that the first responders and the cleanup workers did something that was unbelievably heroic, and that’s absolutely true,” said Reibman. “So, many residents feel a little embarrassed that they actually are in need. But this is a population that did not choose to be impacted by this and who also need help.”

Reibman’s commitment to helping anyone affected by exposure to the asbestos- and fiberglass-filled dust and smoke created by the collapse of the Twin Towers has made her something of a hero to local community groups.

“She is the one doctor who sees Downtown residents. She’s been here since the beginning,” Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1 co-chairperson, said at a Dec. 11 board meeting during which Reibman laid out the Bellevue clinic’s plans for its new funding.

Though the clinic has remained, and will remain, open throughout the expansion process, the “new” clinic will have its formal ribbon-cutting on a to-be-decided date in January. It is currently funded to run until the end of 2011, with a budget of just over $3 million per year.

The program has its roots in a 2002 door-to-door survey of residents’ health conducted by the Bellevue asthma clinic and the state Department of Health. That interaction with the community led to a 2003 plea from the Beyond Ground Zero Network, a group that advocates for low-income residents and workers.

Beyond Ground Zero asked if the asthma clinic would be willing to treat the uninsured residents and workers who were suffering respiratory problems after 9/11 — a population that couldn’t seem to find help anywhere else. Though short on personnel, space and funding, Reibman agreed and the asthma clinic began seeing 9/11 patients informally. In 2005, a $2.4 million grant from the Red Cross turned the informal service into an official W.T.C. clinic.

To qualify for treatment at the Bellevue clinic a patient need only feel that he or she is suffering from ill health related to World Trade Center dust and smoke exposure. However, because the program has a waiting list, the neediest patients — those with the most severe symptoms and no insurance — are prioritized for treatment.

Common symptoms that Reibman has seen include respiratory problems such as sinusitis, cough and shortness of breath. There have also been cases of acid reflux and skin rashes. Based on an extensive interview as well as blood tests, chest X-rays and breathing tests, Reibman and her staff determine whether or not a patient’s condition is W.T.C. related and then decide on a course of treatment.

Many patients have responded well to basic breathing medications, but others have needed referrals to specialists to treat nose, throat and gastric problems. Still others need referrals for non-9/11-related health problems like diabetes, which have worsened due to a lack of insurance. While the clinic provides its services and many of its medications for free, Reibman wishes she could do more to help her patients with their other health needs. Though the clinic provides referrals, the low-income patients, many of whom live or work in Chinatown, often cannot afford to follow up with another doctor.

In the expanded clinic, Bellevue will have more space and more physicians to accommodate an 800-patient roster that is growing. The clinic is spreading out on the second floor of Bellevue’s new ambulatory wing, an airy, glass-enclosed addition that wraps around the front of Bellevue’s main building at First Ave. and 27th St. The clinic also plans to add in-house psychological treatment as well as evening hours one day a week. The clinic currently sees 15 to 20 patients each day and can now serve these patients in nearly any language through the hospital’s high-tech translation system. Everything is so new that Reibman meticulously wipes dirt off her conference room table. She wants it to stay looking nice for a while, she says.

The changes and challenges of expansion have been both exciting and stressful for Reibman and her team. Hiring and training new full-time doctors and nurses to bolster the current staff of seven mostly part-time physicians has been particularly tricky, as World Trade Center ailments are an unstudied medical specialty. Therefore, a desire to work hand-in-hand with the community and its complex populations is imperative, Reibman said.

“It’s absolutely rewarding,” Kyng, whose background is in public health, said of working at the clinic. “You’re dealing with a lot of people with no access to health care. Many of them don’t speak English. The obstacles they face are nearly insurmountable.”

As a freelance sound designer with a rent-controlled apartment two blocks south of the World Trade Center site, Esther Regelson got to see those obstacles first-hand when her health started to suffer after 9/11. First, there was a thyroid problem. With no insurance, Regelson paid for treatment out of pocket. But then her asthma began getting progressively worse and she developed severe acid reflux. Still, the 47-year-old cycling enthusiast tried to ignore it, telling herself that she was “just getting old.”

“As a person without medical insurance, you try to avoid medical treatment. You don’t know how the other half lives,” Regelson said.

Despite working extensively with environmental groups to promote the cleanup of W.T.C. toxins and the safe demolition of contaminated buildings like 130 Liberty St. and Fiterman Hall, it never occurred to Regelson that her own worsening symptoms might be related to her 9/11 exposure. In addition to being in her 109 Washington St. apartment on 9/11, Regelson returned frequently in the subsequent months to supervise cleanup efforts in her building, moving back in for good just six months later. Like many tenants in the Greenwich South area, Regelson viewed her rent-controlled apartment as a set of “velvet handcuffs”— a wonderful thing, but something she could never find elsewhere in the city. So she stayed, dust or no dust.

In 2005, Regelson’s friend Kimberly Flynn, who heads up 9/11 Environmental Action, finally convinced her to get her symptoms checked out at the Bellevue clinic. The results have been very encouraging. After just one treatment cycle with a cocktail of respiratory medications, Regelson’s lung capacity jumped from 42 percent to 62 percent. She goes in for checkups every three months and her boyfriend compliments her on how quickly she can now speed up hills on her bicycle. The hospital was even able to arrange low-cost access to her thyroid medication.

“It’s invaluable,” Regelson said of the Bellevue program. “I never would have been treated. I had sort of accepted my lot in life with it, but I never realized alternative.”

To get treatment for a 9/11-related condition at the Bellevue W.T.C. clinic, potential patients should call 212-562-1720 and leave a message that includes their contact information and the best time to reach them. The clinic can respond to messages in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Polish and Cantonese.

01-05-2007, 10:17 AM
Nadler would cut Iraq war money; says 9/11 dough should flow


By Josh Rogers

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler said he would try to cut off funds to continue the war in Iraq when the new Congress begins this week, but he is more optimistic about his prospects of getting federal money for the health of Downtowners and other Lower Manhattan projects.

During 12 years of Republican control of the House, Nadler has often spoken of what he would be able to do if the Democrats took it back, but now that the day has arrived, the change hasn’t quite sunk in.

“It’s really going to hit me on Thursday when we start winning rather than losing the votes,” Nadler told Downtown Express in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Nadler, who voted against the resolution authorizing the Iraq war in 2002, said “I would cut off funds” to stop it.

American dissatisfaction with the war was one of the biggest reasons Democrats won control of Congress in November according to exit polls, but since the election, Democratic leaders have repeatedly ruled out using their purse power to bring the troops home. Nadler said this is because the position is easy to attack as abandoning soldiers on the battlefield. The way to combat that, Nadler said, is to authorize the Pentagon to spend the necessary money to protect the forces as they withdraw, but not to continue the war.

Asked if he thought the Democratic leaders were too timid, he said “they’re being more timid than I would be,” but then said timid was the wrong word. His aide suggested “cautious,” and Nadler added “more cautious than I would be.”

Nadler has had a few conversations with new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and he is bullish on the Wall St. area’s prospects in the new Congress.

He said he and Sen. Hillary Clinton will reintroduce their bill to provide Medicare coverage to any worker or resident whose health is suffering because of the environmental fallout of 9/11. About 70 percent of the World Trade Center site workers suffered health effects from 9/11 according to a Mount Sinai study, and based on that percentage, Nadler thinks at least 50,000 people are likely to use Medicare under the bill.

The total costs of the program would run in the billions, but Nadler said since Medicare already accepts about 2 million new recipients a year, it will not strain a system that provides health care to senior citizens. “Fifty to 100,000 is tiny,” he said. “Medicare can handle it.”

Under the bill, it would be up to doctors to determine if their patients’ respiratory or other problems were caused by the toxic dust spread with the collapse of the Twin Towers. Nadler’s optimistic about the bill’s chances but he said one obstacle will be if his colleagues require more concrete proof of a 9/11 cause. When asked if residents and office workers could get cut out of the bill so that only ground zero workers are covered, Nadler pointed to this evidence problem.

“It’s very difficult to prove,” he said. “If there is a split between residents and [recovery] workers, it will be that.”

The death of at least one W.T.C. worker has already been attributed to the disaster and Nadler said he will not be surprised at all if residents exposed to the dust get cancer in higher percentages 20 years from now. Many residents have developed respiratory ailments, although the cause has not been proven.

“We’re going to do a lot things on 9/11 health and environmental problems,” he said.

Nadler plans to hold hearings to expose what he called the “second cover-up” of 9/11 environmental problems. The first, in his view, was the danger to ground zero workers, which is not in dispute now, and the second is the danger to workers and residents who were exposed to the dust.

Right after 9/11, Environmental Protection Agency leader Christie Whitman said the air was safe to breathe before she had the evidence to back the claim. However, in interviews with Downtown Express in the months following the attack, E.P.A. officials said the air at the site was dangerous and that residents should assume the W.T.C. dust in their apartments was toxic.

The E.P.A. though, did not begin testing and cleaning Lower Manhattan apartments until a year after the attack. That program and its follow-up announced late last year was criticized by some scientists, Nadler, and many Downtowners.

In the new Congress, Nadler is expected to become chairperson of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, where he could lead hearings on issues as wide ranging as gay marriage, which Nadler favors, as well as N.S.A. wiretapping and detentions without due process, which he has criticized.

He was the ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the last Congress, but since House members are allowed to lead only one committee or subcommittee, he will remain a senior member of Transportation. In the minority, Nadler was able to secure some earmarks for the Hudson River Park and many other projects in his district through this committee, but he is likely to have more clout in the 110th Congress.

He stopped short of saying his district would get more earmark money with his party in power, but he suggested that it is likely. Earmarks, or projects inserted into the federal budget by individual members, grew from about 3,500 a year to 14,000 under the Republicans, Nadler said, and one colleague told him they were weighted 17 to one in favor of the G.O.P. Even if Democrats keep a smaller percentage of the money than Republicans did, and there is a reduction in the number of overall earmarks, which have been criticized by many as being wasteful, he said his constituents may end up seeing more money.

His district includes almost all of Lower Manhattan, the Village, Chelsea, the Upper West Side as well as several Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Coney Island and Borough Park.

Nadler said with Democrats in control, he thinks he may be able to change the Verrazano Bridge tolls. Twenty years ago, Congress ended the Verrazano two-way toll system in deference to Staten Island politicians and residents. Nadler, some urban planners and environmentalists have long asserted that the change led to more pollution because it encouraged trucks to drive into already-congested Lower Manhattan.

Nadler has said many times over the years that if the Democrats got control of Congress, he could convince Sen. Chuck Schumer to support changing the tolls back. Nadler, who plans to meet with Schumer soon, said he will have a better sense in a few weeks what the chances were, but he suspects they’re good.

“I think the political stars are aligned in a way to do it,” he said.

Schumer’s spokesperson did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

01-06-2007, 04:34 PM
(Gold9472: Thanks to Willie Rodriquez for sending this to me.)

Dear Mr. Rodriguez:

With the start of the 110th Congress, I joined Senators Schumer, Kennedy, Lautenberg and Menendez in re-introducing the 9/11 Heroes Health Improvement Act of 2007 that would provide over $1.9 billion in medical and mental health monitoring and treatment grants, available from 2008-2012, to firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics, building and construction trades workers, volunteers, residents, and others whose health was directly impacted at Ground Zero and Fresh Kills as well as those who responded to the Pentagon attack. This funding would be administered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and would expand access to health monitoring and health care to all of those who served, lived and worked in the se area s in the aftermath of 9/11. Similar legislation was introduced late last year.

Time is passing while brave, selfless people are getting sick and dying. This has to be one of the President's top priorities in his upcoming budget.I contacted the President's Director of the Office of Management and Budget to ask that some additional funds be included in the President's Budget for 2008 when it is sent up to Congress next month; but if the President will not act, then we will .

Late last year , my colleagues and I called on the President to include funds in his upcoming Fiscal Year 2008 Budget, due to be released in February. [See -http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=266329&& ]. In the event that the funding is not included, we will push hard for our own legislation to be enacted. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, of which I am a member and Senator Kennedy is Chairman has jurisdiction over the9/11 Heroes Health Improvement Act of 2007 and has also committed to hearings on 9/11 health effects in the near future.

A five-year study conducted by Mount Sinai Medical Center of Ground Zero first responders found that almost 70 percent of World Trade Center ( WTC ) responders had new or substantially worsened respiratory symptoms following their work at the WTC site. Among the responders who were asymptomatic before 9/11, 61 percent developed respiratory symptoms while working at the WTC site. Studies published by the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) also show that over 90 percent of FDNY rescue workers had new respiratory symptoms follo wing their work at WTC; over percent continue to have respiratory and or mental health symptomatology; the average decrease in pulmonary function in the first year after WTC was 372ml (12 times the annual decline in the five years pre-WTC); 25 percent of those tested who were present during the morning of the attack have objective evidence for airway hyper reactivity consistent with asthma; and nearly 700 (5 percent of exposed workforce) have qualified for respiratory disability pensions.

I have continually cautioned that those who breathed the toxic air around Ground Zero in the days, weeks and months after 9/11 would suffer health effects and now our worst fears are being realized. I am pleased that this is one of the first bills to be introduced in the new Congress and I will continue to fight for this funding because I believe we have a moral obligation as a nation to help those whose health was affected by 9/11. We must relieve their suffering and get them the help they need and deserve.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

01-08-2007, 08:16 PM
Lawmakers Push 9/11 Responder Aid Bill


By Katherine Torres

New York and New Jersey lawmakers, joined by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., re-submitted a bill that would provide $1.9 billion in medical and mental health monitoring for emergency response workers whose health was directly impacted by the 9/11 aftermath.

The 9/11 Heroes Health Improvement Act of 2007 – re-introduced by Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.; Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.; Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; and Kennedy, D-Mass. – is one of the first bills to be presented to the new Congress.

The money would be paid out from 2008 to 2012 to firefighters, police officers, EMTs and others who were at Ground Zero and Fresh Kills, on Staten Island, in addition to those who responded to the Pentagon attack.

Clinton: "If the President Will Not Act, Then We Will"
Late last year, Clinton, Schumer and Kennedy called on President Bush to include 9/11 responder funds in his upcoming fiscal year 2008 budget, due to be released in February. In the event that the funding is not included, the five senators have said they will push hard for their own legislation to be enacted.

" … Over the past 5 years, I have repeatedly and urgently called for the necessary funding to help 9/11 victims get the medical assistance they need," Schumer said. "Today, as the attacks continue to claim new victims, I hope the president understands that we can't afford to wait any longer."

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, of which Clinton is a member and Kennedy is chairman, has jurisdiction over the re-introduced bill and also has committed to hearings on 9/11 health effects in the near future, Clinton said.

"Time is passing while brave, selfless people are getting sick and dying," Clinton said. "…If the president will not act, then we will."

Studies: Many WTC Responders Showing Health Effects
A 5-year study conducted by Mount Sinai Medical Center of Ground Zero first responders found that almost 70 percent of World Trade Center (WTC) responders had new or substantially worsened respiratory symptoms following their work at the WTC site. Among the responders who did not show symptoms of ill health before 9/11, 61 percent developed respiratory symptoms while working at the WTC site, according to the study.

Studies published by the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) show that more than 90 percent of FDNY rescue workers had new respiratory symptoms following their work at WTC and that more than 30 percent continue to have respiratory and/or mental health symptoms.

01-10-2007, 11:33 AM
9/11 hero's fatal sickness
49-year-old responder dies of esophageal cancer tied to the toxic dust


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 may have claimed still another Staten Island victim.

Frederick J. Stuck III, 49, a retired deputy sheriff and a first responder on Sept. 11, died yesterday at his Port Richmond home. His wife, Lou Ann, said the cause was esophageal cancer, which she believes resulted from exposure to the toxic dust clouds that have made thousands of New Yorkers sick.

When asked yesterday about her husband's experiences on Sept. 11, Mrs. Stuck's voice became strained. "I can't talk about this," she said. "This was the cause of the whole thing."

The couple's son, Frederick IV, said his father had responded immediately following the attacks and was part of a search for survivors at the former World Trade Center PATH station. For at least six weeks, he worked long hours in the rubble. He returned only briefly to Port Richmond during that time, coming home covered in the dust that smothered Lower Manhattan -- only to sleep and shower and return to Ground Zero.

"He was proud to be a part of the rescue," Mrs. Stuck said. "He was a very proud American. He wanted to be there to help everybody."

Stuck developed asthma shortly after Sept. 11, his wife said, and had to use an inhaler. He developed an ache in his chest, then swallowing became difficult. When he was diagnosed with fourth-stage cancer in April, there was little that could be done.

A report issued this September by Mount Sinai Medical Center found that nearly 70 percent of Ground Zero workers suffered lung problems as a result of their exposure to toxins in the dust-cloud. Manhattan trial lawyers David Worby and Paul Napoli have filed about 8,000 lawsuits claiming the city failed to protect workers from these dangers.

But the city has maintained it is nearly impossible to determine a causal link between the recovery work at Ground Zero and illnesses that arise on an individual basis, and Stuck is a case in point. Whether his selfless acts were fatal has not been medically determined; his doctors pointed to his smoking as a young man (a habit he kicked almost 20 years ago) as a potential cause, Mrs. Stuck said.

What his family knows for sure is that Stuck was, until recently, relatively healthy. The Army veteran and retired deputy sheriff, an outdoorsman who idolized John Wayne, had been, according to his wife, exceptionally "youthful."

Today would have been his 50th birthday.

The native of Garfield, N.J., moved to Port Richmond in 1991, following his marriage to the former Lou Ann Ferone in 1988.

He moved to the Island to work for the New York City Sheriff's Office, which he did for 19 years, in all five boroughs. Stuck, who liked to share stories about his job, was injured while making an arrest in 2003. He retired last year.

"There are many Fred Stuck stories," a co-worker said yesterday. "Those of us who had the opportunity to work side by side with Fred knew that they could not ask for a better partner to depend on in any situation."

The Vietnam War-era veteran who served in the U.S. Army from 1974 to 1977 was a member of the Cichon Post, American Legion, in Port Richmond. He enjoyed hunting and fishing in the Catskills -- a passion he shared with his children and many friends. Stuck would pull out his guitar at barbecues and family gatherings and sing Irish and folk songs. He had a large collection of tools and was known in the neighborhood for his handiness, as well as his small talk and his smile, family said. He also collected John Wayne movies, action figures and memorabilia.

Stuck also maintained a solemn collection he kept private -- an album of photographs and keepsakes from the recovery effort. He had swapped badges with fellow officers from around the country, with whom he had forged a bond, and he kept these, along with the American flag bandanna he wore every day at the site.

"He was a true officer and a gentleman, a proud and devoted American," Mrs. Stuck said. She also described her husband, a parishioner of St. Roch's R.C. Church, Port Richmond, as a faithful man who prayed daily, and a devoted father of four.

Friends had encouraged the Stuck family to look into benefits available to ailing recovery workers, but Stuck had said he was receiving health care and just wanted to focus on getting better. He never pursued litigation, though he did alert his co-workers, encouraging them to seek medical tests in hopes they might detect Sept. 11-related health problems early.

"He apologized to me for being sick," Mrs. Stuck said. "He said he was going to fight this. He said, 'Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere.' ... But first you pray to God to keep him, then you pray to God to take him. He was suffering."

But the young widow also said she had been inspired by her husband, who remained positive throughout his illness.

"I know he's in heaven now, that he's looking down on me and he'll give me the strength to get through this," she said.

According to Advance records, Stuck is the second Staten Islander to die from an illness potentially tied to the recovery effort.

"It's going to continue to be a problem," said Dennis McKeon, executive director of the Bloomfield-based Where-To-Turn, a non-profit group that advocates for families who suffered after Sept. 11.

The American Red Cross operates a Sept. 11 Recovery Program with services for those experiencing health problems. Those seeking information may call 212-812-4348.

Tevah Platt is a news reporter for the Advance. She may be reached at platt@siadvance.com.

01-11-2007, 08:08 PM
Katie Couric Interviews Christie Todd Whitman
Thanks to FrankV

Click Here (http://youtube.com/watch?v=lRpVWDiImFA)

01-11-2007, 08:10 PM
Lying sack of shit.

01-11-2007, 08:24 PM
Is this the longest thread on this board?

Yet another 9/11 toxic dust story swept under the rug.

01-11-2007, 08:43 PM
It may be. There are a few scattered environmental disaster related threads on the board, but once I created this one after James Zadroga died, it's become the environmental disaster thread.

01-11-2007, 08:44 PM
This is the one thread I've constantly maintained.

01-11-2007, 08:45 PM
The Moussaoui trial thread (http://www.yourbbsucks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8711) is probably a close second as far as related info being posted in one thread.

01-12-2007, 09:39 AM
Press EPA to expand 9/11 tests



Federal officials were prodded yesterday to follow the plume of the 9/11 attacks beyond lower Manhattan when they launch a final testing phase for contaminants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a $7 million testing and cleanup program this spring in a limited area of lower Manhattan for any lingering contaminants from the 9/11 attacks more than five years ago.

The program will focus on the same Manhattan area included in a $30 million testing and cleanup effort in 2002 and 2003, south of Canal St. and west of Allen and Pike Sts.

But numerous elected officials, community representatives, civic and environmental activists, and others are pushing the EPA to expand the program into downtown Brooklyn and areas north of Canal St.

That prodding intensified yesterday at a City Council hearing held by the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Committee, which drew testimony from Alan Steinberg, the regional EPA administrator.

Steinberg took heat for the limited geographic scope of the new testing from City Council members, particularly Alan Gerson (D-Manhattan), who heads the committee, and David Yassky (D-Brooklyn), whose district includes downtown Brooklyn.

In his questioning, Gerson repeatedly faulted the inadequacy of the testing procedures and limited budget. Only property owners requesting to have their apartments or commercial premises tested - and cleaned up, if necessary - will be eligible for the voluntary program,

Steinberg repeatedly defended the decision to limit the program to the area that sustained the greatest impact from the 9/11 fallout. Previous testing in that area found that national safety levels for environmental contaminants were "less than 1%" above the norm.

He cited a statement in August by city Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden that the potential health risks from any remaining 9/11 dust in that area were "extremely low or nonexistent."

Steinberg contended the risks would be even lower in Brooklyn and areas farther from Ground Zero.

Gerson asked if the testing was "a political program," prompting Steinberg to fire back, "When you're being responsive to concerns of the community, I don't consider that political. I consider that good government."

Yassky scolded Steinberg's agency for never testing Brooklyn buildings that had "inch-thick" layers of dust and debris from 9/11.

"That's Al Qaeda's fault, but it is our fault and it is your fault, the federal government's fault, that nothing was done to get rid of it," Yassky said.

01-15-2007, 08:04 PM
Residents want EPA to rework dust plan
Brooklyn, Chinatown left out of voluntary 9/11 clean up program


by amy zimmer / metro new york
DEC 13, 2005

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Despite objections from downtown residents and workers — and members of its own panel of experts — the Environmental Protection Agency disbanded the panel yesterday and pressed ahead with a plan many feel is inadequate to test for toxic dust created by the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Many people who live and work in Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn believe asthma, bronchitis and other ailments are linked to the toxic plume of smoke that covered the area after the Twin Towers collapsed. They believe the remnants of that smoke are still coating their carpets and ventilation systems.

They hoped their concerns would be addressed by the panel of scientists and doctors — the World Trade Center Expert Technical Review Panel — convened nearly two years ago by the EPA to advise on a testing and cleanup plan. The panel suggested a comprehensive plan targeting not only residences, but also workplaces and areas such as Chinatown, the Lower East Side and parts of Brooklyn. But when the EPA released their final plan last month, the program included only residences below Canal Street that volunteered for testing.

“I don’t think anything we say will be taken into consideration by the EPA,” said Micki Siegal de Hernandez, the labor liaison on the panel yesterday at its last public hearing. The final plan, she said, was crafted by the EPA behind closed doors.

The EPA is a “bunch of brainiacs and bookworms who just look at numbers but don’t look at people’s pain,” said John Feal, a construction worker who lost half a foot in an accident while working in “the pit” at Ground Zero. “The people [downtown] and in Brooklyn pay taxes and deserve to know their tax money is going to protect their health.”

The EPA could not identify a “signature” set of contaminants clearly linked to WTC dust to “differentiate it from contaminants from 200 years of living in New York.” So it decided to “concentrate its resources” — $7 million in remaining 9/11 FEMA money — to the area “clearly contaminated,” said E. Timothy Oppelt, the panel’s interim chair and EPA’s director of the National Homeland Security Research Center.

“We think this is a scientifically responsible program, notwithstanding comments from some members of the panel,” he said.

Many of the panelists thought a signature could still be determined. “Perhaps we gave up on the signature too soon and the EPA got it wrong,” Oppelt conceded.

“If you’re going to clean up apartment A or B, but not C, and not the ventilation system, then apartment C could re-contaminate the others,” said Dave Newman, an industrial hygienist with the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. “This plan will be used to close the door on the existence of contamination from 9/11 and will just give false assurances.”

01-16-2007, 07:15 PM
New lung or WTC cop dies
Officer stricken after months at Ground Zero



Eva Borja cannot talk to her husband because he is heavily sedated.

Eva and their children (from l.), Ceasar, 21, Nhia, 12, and Evan, 16, are hoping for a miracle.

His family says Cesar Borja did not wear a respirator at Ground Zero because feds said the air was safe to breathe.

Under a jumble of gray wires and clear plastic tubes, Cesar Borja lies unconscious. A nurse checks the monitor at his bedside. The skin on his neck twitches.

Borja is in critical condition with pulmonary fibrosis, kept under sedation, unable to speak even if a breathing tube weren't in his mouth. His eyes are closed.

Beneath the medical hardware that keeps him alive, Borja, 52, still has a handsome, rugged face, topped with the short, spiky hair of a former soldier who never missed a day of work in his 20 years as a city cop.

But everything changed when the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11, 2001. Borja, a father of three from Bayside, Queens, volunteered to work months of 16-hour shifts in the rubble, breathing in clouds of toxic dust.

He filed his retirement papers two years later, about the time he started coughing. A fast-acting disease was crawling through his chest, squeezing his every breath, filling his lungs with scar tissue.

Unless he gets a lung transplant, Borja will die.

"When I see him, I just want him back home," said his daughter Nhia, 12. "My dad is so caring for everyone, and it's just so hard to see him like this, because he doesn't deserve this at all."

At least four other Ground Zero workers have died of pulmonary fibrosis, in which the lungs react to foreign particles by covering them over with scar tissue.

Borja's family is convinced he caught the disease in the line of duty. And although doctors say they can't definitively blame his illness on the air at Ground Zero, scientists are probing for a connection.

"He says, 'I know I got it from there, because a lot of people are dying from it,'" his wife, Eva, 47, said as she waited near his bed in Mount Sinai Medical Center's intensive care unit.

"No doubt for me," she said. "Reading about all these people who have been dying, it has to be a delayed reaction."

Borja was working at an NYPD auto pound in Queens when the twin towers fell. He rushed to Ground Zero and started working long days there - even volunteering to work extra shifts.

Borja is a quiet and reserved man, who rarely talked with his wife and three children about what he saw in his five months at Ground Zero.

But like thousands of other workers, his family said, Borja never wore a respirator - because he believed the Environmental Protection Agency's assurances that the air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe.

"He said, 'No, I never thought of it. They said in the news that the air was good, so I believed it,'" his wife said. "He's not a complainer. He will do his duty."

An estimated 12,000 of the 40,000 workers who labored in the toxic cloud of Ground Zero to help rescue and rebuild are afflicted with breathing problems.

Soon after Borja retired in 2003, he developed a cough that wouldn't go away. He had smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for years, but his family said he stopped at least five years ago.

He blamed the cough on allergies. He popped endless cough drops. Finally, his family persuaded him to go see a doctor - who diagnosed him with asthma.

But Borja's health got worse, with his breathing so shallow that he could barely walk.

The Daily News exposed the plight of thousands of World Trade Center workers with similar problems last summer - and pushed for new laws that will give help to those who desperately need it.

Borja avidly read stories about the victims and the laws, his wife said, and learned that Mount Sinai runs a health screening program for World Trade Center workers. Last fall, he made an appointment there.

Soon, Mount Sinai doctors diagnosed him with pulmonary fibrosis - an unexplained illness in which scar tissue builds up in the lungs, crowding out healthy cells and slowly choking its victims.

Mount Sinai transplant doctor Maria Padilla said she has seen several pulmonary fibrosis patients who worked at the Trade Center site.

"Fibrosis is a reaction [by] the lung to any form of injury," Padilla said. "There's no question that there are a number of patients ... with this disease who had Ground Zero exposure. Whether one has led to the other, I don't know if we can say."

Borja is fighting pneumonia and a bacterial infection that he caught after taking drugs that weakened his immune system. If the infections clear up, he can get on the lung transplant waiting list.

"His chances of survival without the lung transplant are very slight," Padilla said.

Eva Borja will soon file paperwork to seek an increased pension for her husband, based on his disability. But they blame no one for his fate.

"We are not the type who want to blame," Eva Borja said. "People make mistakes."

01-16-2007, 07:48 PM
EPA opens program for 9/11 air testing in lower Manhattan


January 16, 2007, 11:04 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal authorities began collecting names Tuesday from lower Manhattan residents who want their offices and apartments tested or retested for toxic 9/11 dust.

The Environmental Protection Agency will register commercial and residential spaces in lower Manhattan until March 30. After the registration period closes, the actual testing will begin.

The $7 million effort, billed as the final air testing program from the 2001 attacks, has been criticized by some New York lawmakers for not going far enough to ensure public health.

The EPA will specifically test the air and dust in buildings near the World Trade Center site for four contaminants linked to the towers' debris: asbestos, lead, man-made fibers and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chemicals formed during fires.

The EPA number to register for testing is 1-888-747-7725.

During a previous round of testing and cleaning done in 2002 and 2003, the EPA visited more than 4,000 units in the area.

Two of the leading critics of the EPA's testing program, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, say the agency hasn't tested nearly far enough, to parts of Manhattan north of Canal Street as well as Brooklyn.

The lawmakers' fight with the administration over 9/11 health issues began after the EPA asserted within days of the terrorist attack that the dust from 1.8 million tons of World Trade Center debris posed no public health threat.

In the five years since the attacks, doctors have found thousands of ground zero workers suffered a variety of ailments, primarily lung and gastrointestinal disorders.

01-18-2007, 02:11 PM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/01182007/news/regionalnews/fund_raiser_for_9_11_hero_regionalnews_larry_celon a.htm


January 18, 2007 -- Cops are holding a fund-raiser in memory of a brave 9/11 responder whose wife is suing the city for denying the family a disability pension because he could not sign the paperwork on his deathbed.

The event for NYPD officer Ronnie Weintraub, who was assigned to Midtown South, will be held at Connolly's Pub and Restaurant, at 14 E. 47th St., from 5 to 10 p.m. tomorrow. There will be a $25 charge at the door.

Weintraub, who died of liver-related bile duct cancer on Nov. 16, toiled at Ground Zero for more than 100 hours in the days after the terrorist attacks.

But because he had a Patrolmen's Benevolent Association rep sign the paperwork for him, the city denied Weintraub's widow a disability pension that other first responders are presumptively granted under law, his wife Elaine alleged in the lawsuit.

01-18-2007, 08:57 PM
Family Holds Vigil For 9/11 First Responder


January 18, 2007

Family, friends, and supporters held a vigil outside Mount Sinai hospital Thursday for a veteran police officer who is fighting for his life.

Ceasar Borja, 52, is suffering from pulmonary fibrosis and needs a lung transplant.

His family believes the 20-year veteran contracted the condition from his work at the World Trade Center site after 9/11. But doctors say they cannot confirm his condition was definitely caused by the air at the site.

At the vigil supporters called on the federal government to treat anyone who worked there after the attacks and got sick afterwards.

"To me it's outrageous that they would still say that, in this day and age with the evidence that they have now, that they don't know if it's from the World Trade Center," said Joseph Zadroga, who attended the vigil.

"It's all politics,” added Borja’s son, Cesar Borja Jr. “People are told what to say and what not to say. I know the truth. I know that it's because of 9/11. My father knows it's the truth. My parents know it's the truth. Everyone does. It's just up to the officials to finally admit it."

At least four other New York City police officers who worked at the WTC site have died of pulmonary fibrosis -- and as many as 14,000 people who worked there after the attacks have reported breathing problems.

01-19-2007, 10:00 AM
'Wake up and do something' about our health, 9/11 workers demand



As a retired cop struggled for breath in an intensive-care unit yesterday, other Ground Zero veterans rallied outside the hospital to show their support - and demand more help for those who are suffering.

"The government needs to wake up and do something. More and more guys are getting sick every day," said Donna Nolan of Yonkers, whose husband Jimmy, 41, has developed breathing problems. "These guys need help."

The small group gathered at Mount Sinai Medical Center on the upper East Side, where former NYPD Officer Cesar Borja, 52, is in critical condition with pulmonary fibrosis. "It really means a lot to me and my family," said the officer's son Ceasar Borja, 21. "He's doing a little better. He's fighting."

Borja's family believes he contracted the disease working 16-hour shifts at Ground Zero. He needs a lung transplant to survive.

Cops, firefighters, construction workers and other volunteers who worked at Ground Zero after 9/11 say toxic air there scarred their lungs, put them at risk of cancer and robbed them of robust health.

At least four Ground Zero workers have died of pulmonary fibrosis, including NYPD Detective James Zadroga, whose father, Joseph Zadroga, attended the rally.

But doctors say they can't draw a direct link between the workers' service and their ailments - trapping many in a fruitless search for help and compensation, others said. The physicians urge anyone who worked at the World Trade Center site to get a full checkup.

Retired cop Allison Palmer, 38, who blames her cancer on World Trade Center dust, carried a sign with color pictures of her medical scans that said, "The air was not clean. Shame on you!"

"I never smoked a cigarette in my life. I don't drink alcohol. I don't use drugs. It's not a hereditary type of cancer," Palmer said. "There's no doubt in my mind it's from Ground Zero."

Vito Valenti, 43, stood on the cold sidewalk pulling an oxygen tank. A judge last month ordered that he get workers' compensation benefits for pulmonary fibrosis after volunteering at Ground Zero.

"I want to show my support, because that's what I have," Valenti said.

01-20-2007, 08:56 PM
Hil shines spotlight on 9/11 ills
She's honoring desperately sick rescuer by inviting son to State of Union speech


(Gold9472: She also just threw her hat into the 2008 election.)


The son of a retired cop battling a life-threatening illness he caught at Ground Zero is going to Washington with Sen. Hillary Clinton for the State of the Union message, Clinton's office announced yesterday.

Clinton invited Ceasar Borja, 21, to be her guest at the Capitol Tuesday in a bid to raise awareness and funds for Ground Zero veterans stricken with illnesses.

Clinton spokesman Phillipe Reines said the senator got the idea after reading about 52-year-old Cesar Borja in the Daily News.

Borja is in stable but critical condition at Mount Sinai Medical Center with pulmonary fibrosis, a disease his family believes he contracted working 16-hour shifts at Ground Zero.

Doctors say he will die without a lung transplant.

His eldest son said he felt "happy and proud" about Clinton's invitation.

"She wants me there to represent all the other workers who are still suffering," Ceasar said.

"911 is not over. It didn't end in 2001. It's still happening in 2007. This will bring my father's story to the attention of a nationwide audience."

Clinton at first had sought Borja's wife, Eva, 42, to be her guest. The invitation came through doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center while she was visiting her husband at the hospital with Ceasar, son Evan, 16, and daughter Nhia, 12.

"But I said I can't leave New York because I have my two young children to take care of, and I don't want to leave my husband," Eva said.

"I told them we were very honored and very thankful." She suggested that Ceasar take her place. Clinton's staffers said that would be fine.

"They want more funds for World Trade Center people like my husband, and Sen. Clinton will talk about that," the wife said. "Hopefully this will get more funding for people who need it."

Eva Borja said after it was agreed that Ceasar would be Clinton's guest, the family went into Borja's room and told him the news.

He didn't respond, his wife said quietly, but she believes with all her heart that he hears and understands what's going on.

She said her husband's fever spiked a bit yesterday but was brought down with antibiotics. He is fighting an infection, and until it's gone, he won't be eligible to be put on the list for a lifesaving lung transplant.

Reines said Clinton, along with Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Vito Fossella and Jerrold Nadler, will be at Ground Zero Monday to renew their call for President Bush to provide more funds for any worker or resident whose health is suffering because of the environmental fallout of 9/11.

Cops, firefighters, construction workers and other volunteers who worked at Ground Zero say toxic air scarred their lungs, put them at risk of cancer and robbed them of robust health.

At least four Ground Zero workers already have died from pulmonary fibrosis.

01-21-2007, 02:11 PM
Official link to post-9/11 illness debated while death toll rises


Associated Press Writer
January 21, 2007, 12:30 PM EST

NEW YORK -- Deborah Reeve got a cold, a cough and a fever that wouldn't go away. It was more than two years after she had left ground zero.

A month later, the nonsmoker was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer. By last spring, the 41-year-old mother of two was dead.

"My wife got killed on Sept. 11 and she didn't die until March 15, 2006," said her husband, David, a paramedic like his wife who also spent months breathing in toxic dust at the World Trade Center site after the 2001 attacks. "She got killed and didn't know it."

After five years, doctors have definitively established a link between work at ground zero and chronic respiratory illness; a study published last fall by the largest monitoring program for post-9/11 workers found nearly 70 percent were likely to have lifelong breathing problems.

But experts have been slower to officially link deaths to the exposure, saying it is easy to misinterpret some diseases, like cancer, as being connected to ground zero when other factors may be at play.

However, an unofficial, anecdotal death toll of post-Sept. 11 workers is rising rapidly. In 2006, the number of deaths tracked by a lawyer suing the city and contractors overseeing the cleanup of ground zero more than quadrupled to 90 people, up from about 20, said attorney David Worby.

The plaintiffs, who all worked at ground zero in one form or another, died of diseases now familiar to the thousands who are sick: sarcoidosis, mesothelioma, and pulmonary disease. They include Reeve, who spent four months working at the site and at the city morgue; and a nun, Sister Cynthia Mahoney, 54, who served as a chaplain for six months at the site, often blessing the remains of the dead pulled from the rubble.

Many experts studying post-Sept. 11 illness say research hasn't proven yet that all the deaths are connected _ particularly cancer, a leading cause of death in the nation, could be falsely linked to trade center exposure, they say.

Doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center, which has screened 19,000 of the believed 40,000 ground zero workers, say they still need to rule out cases of people whose exposure simply triggered an illness they were already predisposed to contract. The doctors, said program spokeswoman Leslie Schwartz, don't know what the workers "went working into ground zero with."

Last fall, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health also scrapped autopsy guidelines for the nation's medical examiners weeks after drafting them. The institute made the decision after experts said the guidelines could lead to misinterpretation and false links to ground zero deaths.

Experts also say they are focused on treating the sick, rather than classifying the dead. Lawmakers planned a news conference at ground zero on Monday to push for more federal funding for treatment and monitoring of workers.

So far, two deaths have been firmly connected to exposure to the toxic cloud that enveloped lower Manhattan after the twin towers collapsed. The family of Felicia Dunn-Jones, who died of sarcoidosis _ an inflammation of the lungs _ a year after escaping the twin towers _ was paid a $2.6 million death benefit by Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the compensation fund for Sept. 11 victims. And last April, a New Jersey medical examiner concluded that the January 2006 death of retired police Detective James Zadroga was "directly related" to his work at ground zero.

Feinberg, who issued more than 2,000 payments to people sickened after the attacks, said he rejected many claims of cancer. "We were not satisfied that based on the medical documentation submitted, that the cancers would have represented itself so soon after 9/11," he said.

There are some efforts under way to identify the death rate of those who worked at ground zero. The city health department, which maintains a registry of more than 71,000 people who worked or lived near the site of the attacks, plans this year to study whether the death rate in its registry is above normal. The health department has not disclosed any deaths in its registry, which is seeking voluntary follow-up information from its population.

David Reeve says it may take decades to prove what should be obvious right now. His wife's primary doctor, Reynaldo Alonso, wrote a letter nine months before his wife died stating that Reeve's only exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens came from her work at the trade center site. "It is reasonable to state that her exposure at ground zero was the cause of her cancer," Alonso wrote.

"Why do you have such a disproportionate number of people developing cancer at an earlier age?" he asked. "The only thing these people have in common is that they were in southern Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001. Now argue that."

01-21-2007, 09:40 PM
Citing Future Concerns, Bloomberg Asks Court To Limit 9/11 Medical Lawsuits


January 21, 2007

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is asking the courts to reverse a decision that would make the city pay medical bills for 9/11 first responders.

City lawyers are appealing a federal judge's order that the city compensate World Trade Center responders who've suffered health problems.

The city argues they should be immune from lawsuits under a state disaster act, so that emergency response isn't compromised by threats of future litigation.

The judge in the case has said he wants to pressure the city to move forward, and has demanded the city turn over data on all cleanup workers as well as the safety gear they were given.

01-21-2007, 09:44 PM
What a shameful fucking outrage this is. Bloomburgh is the same brand of cock that is at the root of this very problem. Something needs to be done to help these guys, and based on current performance, that fundraiser aint gonna cut it (no offense).

01-21-2007, 09:47 PM
What a shameful fucking outrage this is. Bloomburgh is the same brand of cock that is at the root of this very problem. Something needs to be done to help these guys, and based on current performance, that fundraiser aint gonna cut it (no offense).

You mean this makes you angry?

01-21-2007, 09:51 PM
Your fuckin-A it does! You mean you can't tell? The fact that they even have the audacity to dispute that the environment down there is what made these men sick, AFTER they redacted the EPA report makes me want to be violent.

01-21-2007, 09:59 PM
Your fuckin-A it does! You mean you can't tell? The fact that they even have the audacity to dispute that the environment down there is what made these men sick, AFTER they redacted the EPA report makes me want to be violent.

Ok. So you're angry. Tomorrow you'll be angry. And the next day. What are you gonna do with that anger? Why not do something productive like come to Washington D.C. next weekend?

01-21-2007, 10:07 PM
I have been kicking that idea around for a while now. I more than likely will go.

01-21-2007, 10:13 PM
Well. I'm going. I'm expecting a lot more people are going. From all walks of life, for all causes, I think this one is gonna be big.

01-22-2007, 01:56 PM
Senator Clinton Calls for Federal Help for Sick 9/11 Workers


By Patrick Healy

Targeting President Bush for the first time in her new role as presidential candidate, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton attended a news conference at Ground Zero this morning and called on the White House to seek funding to cover the health needs of ill first responders who worked at the Twin Towers during 9/11.

Mrs. Clinton, who can be fiery in her attacks on Mr. Bush, was relatively measured in her remarks this morning. She said that the sick workers needed immediate help and urged the Bush administration to devote money to them in its forthcoming federal budget request to Congress.

“This is an issue that demands attention from the president and the Congress,” Senator Clinton said at a news conference with Senator Charles Schumer and Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler, and Vito Fossella.

“This is a call to action,” she added. “Without the president’s budget commitment, the program that is treating many of these victims will end.” She said the money would run out this summer.

“I believe this is a moral responsibility,” Mrs. Clinton said, standing alongside relatives of first responders who remain ill from the environmental effects of the collapse of the towers. “This is a crisis, and we need the president to respond to help us.”

The senator listened and nodded as several relatives excoriated the Bush administration and other government officials for “lying” about the environmental effects of the 9/11 attacks and about promises of assistance to the ill.

“We want people to have to look into the eye of these men and women and then say no, it’s not our responsibility to make sure you have the health care you need to deal with these illnesses,” Mrs. Clinton said.

01-22-2007, 09:38 PM
Son Of Ailing 9/11 First Responder To Face Bush
Attending State Of The Union With Sen. Clinton, College Student Seeks Funding For Ill First Responders



(CBS) NEW YORK The son of a 9/11 first responder who is in dire need of a lung transplant will have a front-row seat at tomorrow's State of the Union address. He's going to Washington as a special guest of Sen. Hillary Clinton to raise awareness about his father's illness, which is believed to be a direct result of the toxic air on the tragic day.

"I want to say to President Bush not to forget the World Trade Center victims. They are heroes, and they should be treated as such," Ceasar Borja Jr. told CBS 2. Borja says his critically ill father will be with him in spirit tomorrow when he attends the President's State of the Union speech. The 21-year-old college student will be wearing his NYPD father's uniform coat, his watch, and his pants.

"I'm representing him. I'm representing all the other heroes so I feel that it's fitting that I wear what they wear," he said.

Borja Sr. is a retired NYPD officer and was a First Responder on September 11. He's now in the intensive care unit of Mt. Sinai Hospital awaiting a lung transplant because he suffers from pulmonary fibrosis -- a disease doctors believe he got from working at Ground Zero after the attack.

Borja Jr. wants Bush to allocate more money to treat the medical needs of 9/11 first responders.

"I want him to see a boy that represents New York City, a victim of everything that's happened following 9/11," he said.

The Hunter College journalism student will accompany Sen. Clinton, who was with him today as he spoke at Ground Zero to explain the need for federal funds for victims like his father. "It's really painful for me to be here so close to where my father contracted this disease and I am being strong for my family, for my friends, for my father -- but it is hard. That is why i need the help of the government," he told the crowd.

Other 9/11 responders who have related diseases will also be in the audience for President Bush's speech. Borja Jr. says he also wants to raise awareness about the need for organ donors.

Doctors say his father -- and other first responders with lung diseases -- won't survive without transplants.

01-22-2007, 10:20 PM
I heard on a program earlier today that an insurance company had received 1 billion dollars for these claims, and that not ONE has been paid out on. I think this can only be because once they admit that this is the problem, they are going to have to pay out on everyone. Human lives measured in dollars and cents. And I'm the animal for wanting to shoot some people for this. Heard anything about that Jon? it's supposed to be on Fox news tonight at 10, under the shame shame shame section. Also: Discovery Times today had a big special about it called 911: A Toxic Legacy. But I didn't get to see it.

01-22-2007, 10:25 PM
That has a lot to do with it. One of the reasons they don't want to standardize the autopsies.

01-22-2007, 10:31 PM
Sen. Clinton wants $1.9B for 9/11 health funds


By Chuck Bennett
January 23, 2007

For the second day in a row Monday Clinton the Candidate attracted dozens of reporters from around the world -- this time as she demanded President Bush set aside $1.9 billion for 9/11 responders.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, during her second public appearance since announcing her White House ambitions Saturday, said it was "immoral and unacceptable" that federal funding will run out this summer for programs that treat first responders and lower Manhattan residents sickened by World Trade Center dust.

"I believe this is a moral responsibility of the nation," Clinton said, flanked by fellow members of Congress, 9/11 responders, and advocates. "This is a crisis and we need the president to respond."

Clearly the star of the news conference -- she drew a paparazzi-like swarm of photographers while Sen. Chuck Schumer was all but ignored -- Clinton also renewed calls for a comprehensive plan that will monitor everyone who was exposed to World Trade Center dust.

The worsening health of 9/11 responders has been a smoldering issue since last September when studies found 70% of them suffered some kind of respiratory damage and 60% continue to have problems.

Clinton also took a shot at the city government practice of challenging 9/11 disability claims.

"We appeal the city to end its resistance to taking care of people who took care of us," she said.

The mayor's spokesman Stu Loeser declined to talk about challenges to workers' 9/11-related claims, but said Bloomberg "has set up a WTC Environmental Health Center at Bellevue Hospital to expand assessment and treatment for those who fall through the cracks of existing federally-funded programs."

To highlight the human toll of the World Trade Center diseases, Clinton invited Ceaser Borja Jr., 21, as her guest at the president's State of the Union address Tuesday. Borja's father, a retired NYPD cop who has pulmonary fibrosis after responding on 9/11, is awaiting a double lung transplant.

Likewise, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan/Queens), who warned that health clinics will "get foreclosure notices," invited Joseph Zadroga, whose son, James, a police officer who responded on 9/11, died last year of a World Trade Center-related illness. He was the first confirmed death directly caused by exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.

Congressional hearings on funding for sick 9/11 responders is scheduled for Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

As for the presidential buzz, Clinton declined to talk about anything off-topic and took just two questions. She took questions on a live Web cast Monday evening.

01-22-2007, 10:33 PM
Does anyone else have a problem with Hillary using the sick and dying for her 2008 run? Or, are we supposed to keep our mouths shut because she's bringing attention to their cause, and possible help?

01-22-2007, 10:34 PM
Meh, let her do her thing to help, and THEN expose the fact that this problem has existed for YEARS, so why didn't she do anything sooner. Then she'll be screwed.

01-22-2007, 10:34 PM
You have to admit, it's been getting alot of press lately.

01-22-2007, 10:50 PM
Or point out that she's only dealing with half of the problem. The other half is accountability for those that lied, and caused these people to get sick.

01-22-2007, 10:50 PM
You have to admit, it's been getting alot of press lately.

Yes it has.

01-22-2007, 10:52 PM
When you think about people like Jenna Orkin who have been screaming about this for YEARS, it turns my stomach to think that Hillary, only now that she's running, focuses on them.

01-23-2007, 09:44 AM
Desperate message for Bush from sick 9/11 responders
United front heads to D.C. to press for more funding to treat suffering heroes


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A retired NYPD detective, an ironworker and a dead cop's father have a message for President George Bush, who will give his State of the Union address tonight.

We saved lives. Now help save ours.

Rescue workers who developed lung diseases after breathing poisonous dust at Ground Zero are heading down to the president's State of the Union address today, in a bid to pressure federal officials to fund the growing medical needs of thousands of New Yorkers who heroically sprang into action after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The trip comes as medical experts and New York's congressional delegation are warning that $40 million in federal funds for the city's two main treatment programs is fast running out. "Our money will run out over the next several months," said Jacqueline Moline, the director of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment program at Mount Sinai, in which 19,000 first responders are registered.

New Yorkers traveling to Washington, D.C., today as guests of the New York congressional delegation include the family of the late NYPD Detective James Zadroga, who was the first confirmed post-9/11 death. Also heading to the capital is Ceasar Borja Jr., the son of Ceasar Borja, a retired NYPD officer now in critical condition at Mount Sinai Hospital with pulmonary fibrosis, the same disease that killed Zadroga just over a year ago.

"We want people to have to look into the eyes of these men and women and then say, 'No, it's not our responsibility to make sure you have the health care you need to deal with these illnesses that came about because your country was attacked,'" said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York).

The junior senator and presidential candidate spoke during a news conference at Ground Zero yesterday, surrounded by other congressional members, medical experts and first responders. She gestured to her invited guest, 21-year-old Ceasar Borja Jr., saying federal funding is needed to treat patients like his father. The Queens retired officer toiled for 16-hour shifts at Ground Zero for five months, and must now vanquish a lung infection before he can be placed on the waiting list for a necessary lung transplant.

"In speaking with medical experts, it is absolutely clear that many of these victims will only survive if they are given lung transplants," said Mrs. Clinton.

Officials renewed their call for Bush to include in his budget $1.9 billion over the next five years. "This is not a huge amount of money in federal budgetary terms," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York).

Standing in a sea of Democrats, Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island) said he repeated the request to the White House budget director on Friday. "On the eve of the State of the Union, the one thing I was taught as a kid is that in this Union we take care of our own first," he said. "This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue so much as it's the right thing to do."

The requested amount is largely based on an internal document from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, obtained by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan/Queens). The document estimates an annual cost of $256 million for the care of the 32,000 people now registered in the city's two main programs. The first program is for 14,000 firefighters and the second is for the Mount Sinai program.

Dr. Moline said her clinic, along with the five sister hospitals in the program, are gearing up to send letters out to upwards of 4,000 patients who only just began getting treatment last September. "It sickens me, as a physician, that I am in this position."

Dr. Moline said she expects the number of people needing treatment to keep growing, as diseases like pulmonary fibrosis emerge in more people.

Although unexplained, experts say the disease is the lung's reaction to injury, whereby thick scar tissue builds up in the lungs, blocking air sacs and gradually suffocating victims. One possible precursor is sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease with which Eltingville resident Edward Wallace was diagnosed in 2002. The retired police detective was denied a disability pension even though he spent months at Ground Zero directly after Sept. 11. He now sees at least five separate doctors.

"The price tag is phenomenal," he told the Advance in December. Of his private healthcare provider, he said, "It's just a matter of time before they cut me off."

John Sferazo, an ironworker from Long Island, and another guest of the New York delegation, believes his work at Ground Zero reduced his breathing capacity and triggered other illnesses.

He hoped his presence tonight will make a difference.

Said Sferazo, president and co-founder of Unsung Heroes Helping Heroes: "This tragedy took 3,000 lives and continues to take our lives today."

Heidi J. Shrager covers City hall for the Advance. She may be reached at shrager@siadvance.com.

01-23-2007, 12:34 PM
NY pressures Feds on 9/11 health funds


January 23, 2007

An ironworker, a paramedic and an attorney who believe their illnesses stem from exposure at Ground Zero plan to attend President George W. Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday night as guests of New York's congressional delegation.

They are among those urging Bush to include 9/11-related health care funding when he proposes his 2008 budget.

John Sferazo, of Huntington Station, an ironworker who worked at Ground Zero and attributes his reduced breathing capacity and other illnesses to 9/11, said he hoped his presence tonight will serve as a reminder of the needs of emergency responders and others.

"This tragedy took 3,000 lives and continues to take our lives today," Sferazo, president and cofounder of Unsung Heroes Helping Heroes, said at a news conference Tuesday at the World Trade Center site.

The Bush administration has released more than $50 million of $75 million in federal funding to treat first responders through the New York Fire Department and hospitals, including The Mount Sinai Medical Center and Stony Brook University Medical Center. Demand is so high that the money will run out in the next several months, said Dr. Jacqueline Moline, director of Mount Sinai's program, which serves 19,000 patients. A Mount Sinai report found that nearly seven out of every 10 Ground Zero workers suffered lung problems.

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official said in December that the Bush administration planned to report to Congress on a long-term treatment plan in February, after Bush submits his budget.

Also attending Bush's speech will be Ceasar Borja Jr., 21, of Bayside, whose father, former New York City Police Officer Cesar Borja, suffers from pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the lung, which began in 2002. "It's really painful for me to be here, so close to where my father contracted this disease, but I am being strong ... for my father," said the younger Borja.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who has submitted legislation pegging the cost for long-term treatment at $1.9 billion, will give a gallery pass to Borja. "We want the president and members of Congress to see the faces of those who have suffered because of our negligence in refusing to take care of the people who responded to 9/11," she said.

01-23-2007, 10:34 PM
9/11 Cop Dies Just as His Son, Clinton's Guest, Faces Bush
Former NYPD officer Cesar Borja died Jan. 23. He had been fighting a sever lung disease, which his family believes he contracted by working at Ground Zero. His son attended the President's State of the Union.


(Gold9472: I'm crying as I post this.)


A former New York policeman died late Tuesday in a Manhattan hospital, just as his 21-year-old son prepared to appear at the State of the Union speech to symbolize the desperate health problems of his father and other sick Sept. 11 workers.

The former officer, Cesar Borja, 52, had been in intensive care, breathing through a tube, at Mount Sinai Medical Center, awaiting a lung transplant. Hospital spokeswoman Lauren Woods confirmed the death late Tuesday.

"He did pass on," Woods said.

His son, college student Ceasar Borja Jr., was invited by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., to attend President Bush's speech as a reminder to the president of workers who were stricken with a host of illnesses after exposure to toxic World Trade Center debris.

The younger Borja learned of his father's death in a phone call while eating dinner around 6:30 p.m. He still planned to attend the speech.

The son's comments earlier in the day showed he was aware of just how critical his father's health situation had become -- and why it was still important for him to speak out in Washington.

"It's a very emotional time, and it's very difficult," said the son. "My father is a symbol of those in need, in desperation."

The Hunter College student said he came to Washington to make the point that there are many more whose lives are threatened by their exposure at ground zero.

"9/11 is not over. It didn't end in 2001. It is still affecting my father and numerous other first responders," he said. "My father is an extreme example of what can happen and what may and will happen in the future."

Clinton and other New York lawmakers have been urging the government for years to pay for treating Sept. 11-related illnesses.

While Democrats now control both chambers of Congress and have the power to pass and amend budget bills, the New York Democrats, who included Clinton and Sen. Charles Schumer, said the responsibility lay principally with the Republican White House.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, whose district includes the site of the 2001 terror attacks, had the strongest language for Bush and the New York mayor.

"The villains are no longer the terrorists. The villains live in the White House and in Gracie Mansion," said Nadler, referring to the official home of the mayor of New York.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was in the city for a mayors' gathering on illegal guns, dismissed Nadler's attack.

"He'll have to speak for his own actions," said Bloomberg.

Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican who has signed on to the mayor's gun effort, said Nadler's comments crossed the line.

"That's the kind of rhetoric that doesn't help anybody," King said. "I agree that more should be done for 9/11 victims, but to be using language like that serves no purpose."

Even as several of the city's Democrats bashed Republicans, they said they could not guarantee that, now that their party is in power, the Congress would pass legislation paying for Sept. 11 health treatment.

"We certainly can't promise it," said Nadler, adding the issue would be decided by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "If I were the speaker, yeah, it would be in the budget."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-Manhattan, was more optimistic but still could not guarantee the Democratic Congress would pass such a bill this year.

"I believe we will be successful," said Maloney. "We will fight till the last dog dies."

01-23-2007, 11:49 PM
Mayor defends city on 9/11 health


By Chuck Bennett
January 24, 2007

Mayor Bloomberg said Tuesday that the city is "acting responsibly" by challenging the health-related legal claims of 9/11 responders.

His strong defense made at a news conference came one day after he was blasted by Sen. Hillary Clinton and Rep. Jerrold Nadler for the practice.

"They can say anything they want," Bloomberg said. "The Corporation Counsel is acting responsibly, protecting the interests of New York City. We're trying to make sure that we help those who really need the help."

At a news conference at Ground Zero on Monday, Clinton said, "We appeal to the city to end its resistance to taking care of people who took care of us."

As many as 8,000 Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers could eventually file claims, according to a court ruling last year.

"We're not going to walk away from anybody," Bloomberg said.

01-23-2007, 11:53 PM
We're trying to make sure that we help those who really need the help Who the fuck is it that he's waiting for? Not one claim accepted yet? Or am I confused? Is this something different?

01-24-2007, 03:46 PM
Son of 9/11 Cop Seeks Meeting With Bush


Associated Press Writer
Wednesday January 24, 2007 7:01 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - A day after his father's death, the grieving son of a Sept. 11 police officer said Wednesday he wants to meet with President Bush to describe his father's sacrifice and the health needs of other sick ground zero workers.

Ceasar Borja Jr. attended the president's State of the Union address on Tuesday night just hours after learning his father had died from lung problems.

"I want a meeting with the president to make the case directly about how important these health programs are," Borja told The Associated Press.

"I want him to hear from me how my father died a hero last night, and there are many heroes that will and are continuing to die because they're not given the proper medical attention or not given enough help from the federal government," said the 21-year-old college student, his voice breaking with emotion.

After getting the awful news that his father had died, the son had insisted on going ahead and attending the president's speech to honor his father and draw attention to the issue of Sept. 11-related health problems.

He had been invited by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., a longtime advocate for Sept. 11 health issues.

"I need to be strong, and I am just doing my best," Borja said. The family was beginning to prepare for a weekend funeral.

His father, 52-year-old Cesar Borja, was a 20-year veteran of the New York police who died Tuesday at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York while awaiting a lung transplant.

The case is the latest to raise concerns about the long-term health threats to thousands of rescue and recovery workers who toiled at the World Trade Center debris pile.

01-25-2007, 01:07 AM
Survivors of 9/11 responders may qualify for scholarships



Legislation that state Assembly members Pamela R. Lampitt, Fred Scalera, Mike Panter and Patrick J. Diegnan sponsored to provide college scholarships to surviving family members of New Jerseyans who die from illnesses caused by exposure to the 9/11 terrorist attack sites has been signed into law by Gov. Jon S. Corzine.

According to a press release, the new law (A-3019) extends benefits of the New Jersey World Trade Center Scholarship Program to dependents and spouses of individuals who die as a result of illnesses caused by exposure to the sites attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001.

The legislators said the law will help families like that of an Ocean County man who died last January from pulmonary disease and respiratory failure that reportedly was a direct result of his extensive service at ground zero as a New York City police officer.

"New Jerseyans never will be able to erase from their minds the images of 9/11, but many residents continue to suffer acutely because of direct exposure to ground zero and the other attack sites," said Lampitt (D-Camden). "We have an obligation to help these first responders and other New Jerseyans who contracted deadly illnesses in the aftermath of Sept. 11."

Under the law, a survivor will be eligible for a scholarship to help cover the cost of undergraduate study upon providing medical records or other documentation showing that his or her relative's death was caused by exposure to the 9/11 terrorist attack sites.

"Police, fire and EMT personnel throughout the region responded to ground zero without thought to their own personal safety and well-being," said Scalera (D-Essex and Bergen), who serves as deputy fire chief in Nutley. "We must recognize the sacrifices of these brave men and women even if they did not perish on 9/11 or shortly thereafter."

According to the press release, the new law augments the existing program that made available annual college scholarships to children and spouses of people who were New Jersey residents on Sept. 11, 2001, and killed in the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Somerset County, Pa., or as a result of injuries from the attacks.

"The loss of a parent or spouse to the terrorist attacks is a tragedy whether the loved one died on 9/11 or only recently," said Panter (D-Monmouth and Mercer). "Providing college scholarships cannot in any way make up for that personal loss, but it can help families survive and make progress in their own lives. It also is a fitting tribute to the brave New Jerseyans who responded in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks and have since struggled with deadly illnesses."

"A college education can open the door to a lifetime of opportunity," said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). "Expanding the scholarship program ensures that New Jerseyans are not cut off from achieving their dreams because a 9/11-related illness took their spouses or parents."

According to the press release, a recent study showed the average decline in lung function among firefighters who were at ground zero one year after the terrorist attacks was equivalent to 12 years of aging.

01-25-2007, 08:37 AM
the new law augments *raises eyebrows*

"Police, fire and EMT personnel throughout the region responded to ground zero without thought to their own personal safety and well-being,"

I have to say this, and understand that I am not being a dick. Alot of us KNEW that we shouldn't be in that shit w/o a mask (and that wouldn't have been enough, you needed a fine particulate respiraor to keep that shit out) We didn't need anyone to tell us that it was bad stuff to be breathing. After 12 or 14 hours in that shit, you could FEEL it in your chest. Alot of the people DID wear them most times, and yelled at those who didn't. I don't even remember hearing anything about anyone saying the air was bad or good outside of being yelled at by other people for not wearing a mask. At no time did they stop everyone and say "hey the air is great, you have NOTHING to worry about."
Conversely, no one stopped everyone and said, "You HAVE to wear a mask, this shit is bad."
Scholarships sound like a bribe to me. It fixes nothing. The people who went there (emt, fire and police) risk their lives for a living. Are they saying that because no one came and stopped them from working and told them how bad it was, that now someone is liable for that? Shouldn't they be covered by their respective insurance companies? I KNOW cops and firemen in NYC, they have awsome benefits, why aren't those covering them?

01-25-2007, 11:45 AM
Look me in the eye & save WTC heroes
After ex-cop's death, stricken son pleads with Prez to aid others who are suffering



A tearful Ceasar Borja Jr. holds the cover of yesterday's Daily News skyward, so his father in heaven can read it. 'Dad, I will make you proud,' the cover promised.

The grieving son of a dead city cop is waiting to hear from you, Mr. President. His message: Please help the ailing heroes of 9/11 so that no more have to die.

"I just want the President to look in my face and see how important it is that we get help," 21-year-old Ceasar Borja Jr. told the Daily News yesterday, a day after his cop father succumbed to lung disease after spending 16-hour days atop the smoldering wreckage of Ground Zero.

"I want him to hear how my father died a hero," added Borja, "and how there are many other heroes who are continuing to die and who need help." Last night a Bush spokesman said the White House is "aware of the request" but has not agreed to a meeting.

"We extend our condolences to Mr. Borja and his family during this difficult time," said spokesman Scott Stanzel. The young Borja got the response after traveling from Washington to New York to bury his hero father, retired NYPD Officer Cesar Borja.

"I am thankful for the statement that was released, but I still look forward to the funding and financial support to finally be delivered," said Borja, who still wants to sit down with Bush.

The timing of the elder Borja's death - less than three hours before his son was to attend President Bush's State of the Union address as the guest of Sen. Hillary Clinton - immediately transformed the cop's stoic son into a national symbol for 9/11's sick and dying heroes. Borja insisted on going to the speech in the name of his father and thousands of other Ground Zero workers who are battling health issues, a powerful tale told by every TV network and hundreds of newspapers.

But the public spotlight could not have come at a bleaker time for the family, which was struggling with the gaping new hole in their lives and the sad task of burying a father and husband.

"I know in his mind he wanted to fight it, but in his body he couldn't," Borja's widow, Eva, told The News in her Bayside, Queens, living room.

She cradled a framed certificate from the NYPD honoring Borja for never missing a day of work before his retirement in 2003. Small oxygen tanks in one corner of the homey living room nevertheless stood as silent reminders of his more recent lung problems, diagnosed as pulmonary fibrosis.

Eva Borja said the last time her husband was conscious, he told her that even though he had been in a deep sleep he could hear everything she said. So as she hovered over him Tuesday, she whispered softly in his ear. "I knew he was going," she said. "I could feel it in my heart. I was singing to him. I knew he could hear me."

A law signed by former Gov. George Pataki in August boosted the pension of public employees who worked at Ground Zero and later died to 100% pay for their families. But the city has argued the bill was poorly drafted and will pay only 50% until the bill is fixed, which could take months.

"It's not fair," said Emma Perez, a sister-in-law of the elder Borja. "These people sacrificed their lives, and now their children are in jeopardy."

Mayor Bloomberg called Borja's death "very tragic" but said the real focus should be on the federal government and the need for an expanded Victim Compensation Fund, which once provided benefits to surviving families but has been shut down.

Many expressed hope that Borja's story would finally persuade Bush to commit to a comprehensive plan for addressing emergent 9/11 health issues. "If his death does not convince the President to come up with a plan to deal with this medical crisis and fund medical monitoring and treatment, I don't know what else will," Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) said.

A bill already filed by Clinton (D-N.Y.) would set aside $1.9 billion to cover growing health care costs of 9/11 rescuers; the legislation is awaiting hearings before the Senate health committee.

"I think the federal government has an obligation to make sure we provide health care to these people," Clinton said in the Capitol.

So does Borja, who late yesterday made it back home, where he fell into the arms of his crying mother.

"I am so proud of you and your strength," Eva Borja said as she clutched her son in the foyer of their Tudor-style home. "You are so brave."

"Mom, I am not going to stop fighting," the younger Borja replied. "You know that. You know that Dad is a fighter. He wanted to let go so that he could see me at the State of the Union."

Time set aside to pay last respects
A wake for Cesar Borja will be held today and tomorrow, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Gleason Funeral Home, 36-46 Bell Blvd., Queens, which is donating its services. A funeral Mass will be said at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 34-42 210th St., Queens. Burial will follow at Mount St. Mary's Cemetery, 172-00 Booth Memorial Ave., Flushing.

01-25-2007, 11:46 AM
My dad is strong, now I will be, too



THE NIGHT BEFORE my father passed away, I took out our old family photos. I was going to go to Washington to be Sen. Hillary Clinton's guest at the State of the Union speech, and I wanted to remember my father.

My favorite one is from a vacation at Disney World when I was about 3. My dad was giving me a piggyback ride, with my legs draped over his shoulders and his hands holding me up.

I was so small. I like it because it's my dad keeping me balanced and literally carrying me on his shoulders. But now I'm carrying him on my shoulders.

My father, Cesar Borja, was a New York City police officer. In making people feel safe and protected, he felt like it was the best job in the world. He always told me he didn't want to go up in rank. He liked being on the streets where the people are. He felt like he could make the most difference there.

I was never afraid of my dad doing anything because he never failed. He was a hero when he worked at the World Trade Center, and when he passed away Tuesday night, he died a hero.

My dad called everyone "Baby" - he called me baby, and I'm 21. Now, I say it, too. He also called me "Kuya," which is my nickname. He named me after himself, but he spelled my name a little differently because he wanted to make me unique. I know I'm technically not a "Junior" because he spells it differently, but if my father says I'm a Junior, I am.

My father was a pretty macho guy. He didn't talk about a lot of things in depth, but he would take me out to the garage and we would work on cars together. He'd say, "Kuya, come on. Let's go do this." He loved us so much.

He didn't say much, but I know what he would say if he had survived. It would be just one sentence: "Told you I'd come home." And if my dad could talk to George Bush, he'd say just one thing: "Think we deserve this?"

Just being alone in the [hospital] room with my father and studying him, I understand him more.

He looked so tough. Bullies used to pick on me because I'm so small. My dad said, "Kuya, am I the biggest police officer? No. I'm one of the smallest. But I'm never absent, and I always do my best." He's my hero. He taught me everything.

What I'm most proud of receiving from dad is his strength. People say I'm strong to be speaking about him right after he passed away, but if you think I'm strong now, you should have seen my father on a normal day. I'm proud to even get a fraction of his strength.

Now, I'm fighting for my father and for all the heroes of the World Trade Center. He always said, "Do your best or do nothing." I'm doing my best so that everyone who is suffering can get the care and the help that they need, so no other son ever has to go through what I'm going through.

Ceasar Borja Jr. lives in Bayside, Queens. He is a student at Hunter College and plans to major in journalism.

01-25-2007, 11:56 AM

01-25-2007, 06:09 PM
Mourners remember 9/11 officer who died awaiting lung transplant


Associated Press Writer
January 25, 2007, 4:16 PM EST

NEW YORK -- The son of a police officer who died five years after his 9/11 rescue efforts told mourners Thursday that his father's death should prompt increased efforts to take care of others afflicted with Sept. 11-related health problems.

"Let's show Dad that from his passing, there is still so much good he can do," Ceasar Borja Jr. said at a Queens funeral home, speaking in front of his father's casket during a wake. "He can still affect us. There's still so much good we can do when we're together."

Borja Jr., 21, was invited by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to attended President Bush's State of the Union address. He was in Washington on Tuesday when he learned of his father's death.

Cesar Borja, 52, died while awaiting a lung transplant at Mount Sinai Medical Center. The 20-year police veteran fell ill after working 16-hour shifts, three days a week, on the toxic debris pile created by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the twin towers.

Ceasar, wearing his father's police jacket, said he still hoped to follow his father into the New York Police Department despite a slight hearing disability that has undermined his previous efforts.

Large bouquets of flowers flanked Borja's flag-draped casket as about 50 family members and friends filed into the wake. Across the front of the room were large collages of photographs showing the late officer with family, friends and colleagues.

Borja retired from the NYPD in 2003, and developed the "World Trade Center cough" a short time later, his son said. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

A half-dozen police officers greeted guests as they arrived at Gleason's Funeral Home in the Bayside section of Queens for the wake.

A second day of the wake was scheduled for Friday, with a funeral Mass set for Saturday morning.

The younger Borja hopes to meet with Bush to discuss his father's case and make a pitch for the health needs of other ill ground zero workers. Clinton and other New York lawmakers have asked Bush to include money in the national budget to treat and monitor thousands of people who say they developed respiratory and other illnesses after working at the World Trade Center site.

"He wanted me to do something greater than him, to stand for something more, and now I'm going to do that," Ceasar Borja said. "I'm going to fight for all those who became ill while working at ground zero."

01-26-2007, 09:37 AM
Congress must pass 9/11 victims’ health assistance programs


Volume 19 Issue 37 | January 26 - February 1, 2007

Like far too many other self-sacrificing men and women who searched for bodies at the World Trade Center site in 2001 and 2002, Police Officer Cesar Borja, 52, developed an illness that almost certainly was related to the toxic chemicals released into the air as a result of the collapse of the Twin Towers. The day before, Ceasar Borja, 21, the officer’s son, came to the site asking the president and Congress for money to provide health care for his father and thousands of others who are suffering because of the attack. He was in Washington lobbying with Sen. Hillary Clinton when he learned of his father’s death.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Borja family.

Clinton, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and others in Congress are pushing for $1.9 billion to continue a health program for 9/11 recovery workers. They also have a bill that would provide Medicare coverage to workers and residents who can demonstrate health damage related to the attack.

It is essential both bills are passed. Medicare, one of the largest and most efficient programs in the history of government, should be able to easily absorb the infinitesimal increase in the number of people who would be added because of the bill.

As the New York delegation tries to win support from the White House and in Congress, we assume it will be much easier to convince naysayers to go along with health care for police officers, firefighters and other recovery workers because of natural and understandable sympathy.

We think health money for residents and office workers affected by the attack will be a much harder sell. Somewhere down the road there may be a hard-to-resist temptation to compromise and cut residents and office workers out of the bill in order to get it passed. Clinton, Nadler and the other co-sponsors should resist this temptation and make sure no one is sacrificed.

As Nadler told us a few weeks ago, one of the obstacles to passage will be the level of proof needed to receive the benefits. Whether you are talking about a firefighter who breathed the air from the toxic fires 12 hours a day for months or a Downtown family that to this day has toxic chemicals in hidden areas of their apartment, it is difficult to prove the cause of any respiratory ailments with medical certainty. Autopsies may be helpful in terms of proof, but are of course useless in those cases because you can’t provide medical care retroactively.

Congress is right to be concerned about evidence. A program that is so lenient that almost any New Yorker who develops certain ailments or cancers can finagle a way in would be a misuse of public money and unfair to most Americans, who either have no health insurance or struggle to pay for it. But a program that excluded residents and workers who likely have health problems because of the attack would be equally unacceptable. The proponents of the bill should work now to draft acceptable language on evidence and eligibility.

There are more than 2,749 victims of the attack Downtown. Just because some don’t know it yet does not mean they can be ignored when they discover the unfortunate truth.

01-26-2007, 08:58 PM
James A. Henderson Jr. appointed 'special master' in 9/11 respiratory illness cases



New York City is facing a number of lawsuits regarding lingering respiratory illnesses that many workers and rescue personnel claim result from working on the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Studies by such organizations as Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have agreed that the hazardous conditions at the site can be the source of these illnesses.

To investigate the legal cases, Cornell Law School professor James A. Henderson Jr. has been appointed by Southern District Judge Alvin Hellerstein as a special master, along with Aaron D. Twerski, dean of the Hofstra University School of Law.

"Professor Henderson is an obvious choice for special master insofar as he is one of the leading thinkers in tort law," says Michael Heise, professor of law at the Cornell Law School. "His first-rate scholarship draws on a deep reservoir of knowledge, experience, judgment and creative thinking, all of which will assist the judge in the difficult task before him."

Henderson and Twerski have been asked to make an undisputed list of the cases and to categorize them to help organize the legal process. In appointing the two legal experts, Hellerstein mentioned in particular their impartiality and unparalleled skills.

Experts in the field of mass tort litigation, they have written texts and law review articles together, including "Cases and Materials on the Law of Torts" in 2003.

Henderson has an A.B. from Princeton University and an LL.B. and LL.M. from Harvard Law School. He clerked for the Hon. Warren L. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and then taught at Boston University Law School for 20 years before, in 1984, joining Cornell Law School, where he is the Frank B. Ingersoll Professor of Law. His scholarship and teaching addresses theoretical, practical and process concerns in the fields of products liability and torts. In addition to serving as the co-reporter of the American Law Institute's revision of the products liability portions of the "Restatement of the Law of Torts from 1992-1998," Henderson has testified extensively on torts, products liability and insurance before the U.S. Senate and House, as well as before numerous state legislatures.

01-26-2007, 09:49 PM
Caesar Borja On The Associated Press

Click Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiEoNBrviGU&eurl=)

01-26-2007, 09:51 PM
Augmentor... ask me your question again.

01-27-2007, 02:09 AM
9/11 autopsy guidelines plan scuttled



An effort to create standardized autopsy guidelines that could document the link between toxic air at ground zero and the later deaths of 9/11 rescue workers was abandoned by the federal government over concerns that the information collected could be misinterpreted.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in a note posted Friday on its web site, said the agency "instead will pursue other avenues for documenting long-term health effects from exposure to air contaminants from the World Trade Center disaster."

The proposal for standard autopsy guidelines was laid out by the institute in a Sept. 15 draft document that was subsequently reviewed by medical experts outside the federal government. The decision to scratch the autopsy plan came after the experts raised questions about whether the plan would work.

"This study has many insurmountable barriers to overcome," wrote Dr. David J. Prezant, chief medical officer for the city Fire Department. Prezant, whose review was also posted on the institute web site, said one of those barriers was the "politics of causality," a reference to pending lawsuits filed against the city by injured workers. Autopsy results are often used in civil suits.

The institute said reviewers had raised several questions about the program, including concerns that "the draft document could be misinterpreted or misapplied, hindering rather than furthering progress in addressing WTC health concerns." The independent reviews were complete on Oct. 31, according to the institute.

The draft had proposed examining specific sections of the lungs, along with the creation of a "tissue bank" to preserve certain organs and bodily fluids for later testing. But the agency ultimately decided to look for another method to reduce "uncertainties in assessing WTC health effects."

The five-paragraph web site statement contained no specific alternatives.

The collapse of the twin towers sent thick plumes of concrete dust, fiberglass, asbestos and lead into the air in lower Manhattan. The tainted air was taken in by thousands of ground zero workers in the weeks after the terrorist attack that killed 2,749 people.

The guidelines were intended to be used nationwide in cases like the death of New York City police detective James Zadroga, who died last January. Zadroga spent 470 hours working amid the toxic fumes, and fell ill within weeks.

An autopsy found the 34-year-old detective died as a result of ground zero exposure, finding that there was material "consistent with dust" found in his lungs.

01-27-2007, 08:44 PM
9/11 Officer Remembered At Queens Funeral


POSTED: 6:49 pm EST January 27, 2007
UPDATED: 7:02 pm EST January 27, 2007

NEW YORK -- A city police officer who died five years after working 16-hour shifts amid the toxic debris of ground zero was remembered Saturday at a Queens funeral where family and friends said their final farewells.

But the Mass for Cesar Borja was also a reminder of the growing number of Sept. 11 first responders reporting health problems, an issue that has politicians from Sen. Hillary Clinton to Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggesting the rescue workers deserve compensation.

Borja, who was awaiting a lung transplant, died Tuesday just hours before his son Ceasar attended President Bush's State of the Union address as a guest of Clinton. Ceasar, 21, hopes to meet with Bush to discuss the ongoing health problems of workers who spent time in the World Trade Center rubble after the terrorist attack.

The elder Borja's body was brought into St. Josaphat's Church in the Bayside area by a police honor guard on a brisk winter morning. The officers carried his flag-draped casket into the church as police bagpipers played and one family member collapsed in tears.

"It's so sad, but we are proud for him," said family friend Alicia Orca before the hour-long service began.

Cesar Borja, 52, worked double-shifts three times a week at ground zero, according to his son. The 20-year veteran developed the "World Trade Center cough" shortly after retiring in 2003, and his condition deteriorated until his death from pulmonary fibrosis, the son said.

Clinton and other New York lawmakers have asked Bush to include money in the national budget to treat and monitor thousands of people who say they developed respiratory and other illnesses after working at the World Trade Center site.

01-27-2007, 08:50 PM
Mayor: Government should establish fund for 9/11 workers
Bloomberg says payment should be offered for those succumbing to poisonous air they inhaled at Ground Zero


Saturday, January 27, 2007

The federal government should establish a compensation fund modeled on the now-defunct September 11 Victim Compensation Fund for the scores of 9/11 workers who are succumbing to the poisonous air they inhaled in the recovery effort at Ground Zero, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday.

"We want the feds to give us what we had before, a compensation fund, where we can compensate people who have diseases that were caused by their time down at the World Trade Center site when the air obviously was not clean," Bloomberg said on WABC radio. "It no longer exists -- we really could use the money to do it again."

The Victim Compensation Fund doled out more than $7 billion to about 5,500 people with death and injury claims before it stopped taking claims on Dec. 22, 2003.

In a New York Times Op-Ed piece last month, the fund special master, Kenneth Feinberg, wrote that more than 1,300 of recipients were workers suffering from the same respiratory illnesses that have emerged in thousands of people since 2003. Those workers got a combined $500 million.

Feinberg also said $1.5 billion would be enough to settle all claims if a similar fund were created.

But in a response letter printed in The New York Times the following week, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan/Queens) and Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) said compensation costs would far exceed $1.5 billion. The federal government estimates that 50,000 people flocked to Ground Zero to help in the wake of the attacks.

The mayor included the federal funding request in his preliminary budget for fiscal 2008, which he unveiled Thursday, but did not specify an amount.

Bloomberg also supports two companion bills introduced in the Senate and House last year; the first would reopen the Victim Compensation Fund and the second would provide medical monitoring and health insurance to all who were exposed to the toxic cloud from the towers' collapse. The House bills were co-sponsored by Fossella and Ms. Maloney.

Meanwhile, the city Law Department is battling federal negligence lawsuits filed by roughly 6,000 sick municipal workers claiming the city is liable because it failed to provide them with sufficient protective gear from dust and fumes. The city denies liability and says it did provide adequate protection.

Heidi J. Shrager covers City Hall for the Advance. She may be reached at shrager@siadvance.com.

01-28-2007, 12:34 PM
N.Y.: IT MAY BE 100+

http://www.nypost.com/seven/01282007/news/regionalnews/1st_study_for_9_11_toxic_toll_regionalnews_susan_e delman.htm


January 28, 2007 -- The state has launched the first study of deaths among World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers - a grim toll that now exceeds 100, officials told The Post.

With a $165,000 federal grant from 9/11 health czar John Howard, the state is contributing at least twice that in staff and resources to study what killed the cops, firefighters and other workers who have died after searching for survivors or helping in the cleanup.

"We want to know about every death, so we can evaluate any patterns with fatalities," said Kitty Gelber, chief epidemiologist with the state Bureau of Occupational Health. "People need to let us know who was there and who died."

So far, the study has listed "over 100 deaths," Gelber said. The names were culled from the city's WTC health registry, labor unions and news reports, she said.

The study is now seeking data from the WTC medical monitoring program at Mount Sinai Hospital, the FDNY, medical examiners, and a class-action lawsuit for 9,000 Ground Zero workers.

About 95 workers - mostly cops and firefighters - have died of respiratory illness, heart failure or cancer, said lawyer David Worby.

The state has yet to determine the causes of the 100-plus deaths it has identified. Several may involve car crashes or suicides, but all are of interest, Gelber said.

The goal is to detect trends to help doctors monitor, test and treat 9/11 workers.

"Let us learn what we can to get the treatment as good as possible now," Gelber said.

The study will gather each worker's medical records before and after 9/11 and their time at Ground Zero or the Fresh Kills landfill or on trucks and barges that moved debris. Researchers will also interview relatives.

"While some have attributed a number of deaths to work at the WTC site, the medical link to those fatalities has not been established," said a city Law Department spokeswoman. "We must be very careful not to reach conclusions in advance of scientific and medical proof. The claim that over 90 workers have died is simply unsupported."

To report the death of a WTC responder, call toll free statewide: (866) 807- 2130 or (518) 402-7900. The e-mail address is wtcfatality@health. state.ny.us.

01-28-2007, 12:39 PM
I had no idea the number was that high. I thought it was like 5 or 6 people that have passed away. That means 2,973 is more like 3,073.

01-28-2007, 06:29 PM
Lawmakers Want Sickened First-Responders In 9/11 Memorial


POSTED: 1:55 pm PST January 28, 2007

NEW YORK -- The museum planned for ground zero should include a memorial to workers who died after becoming ill during recovery and cleanup of World Trade Center debris, two state lawmakers said Sunday.

Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, and Republican Sen. Martin Golden of Brooklyn said they would introduce legislation in Albany to ensure those workers are recognized.

"We want to tell the story of the 9/11 workers who rushed here to help put the city back on its feet, who got sick because they did that, and now unfortunately many of them have died," Gianaris said at a news conference attended by ailing first responders and family members.

The Bush administration, along with state and local governments, have been criticized for being slow to acknowledge that many people developed debilitating illnesses from exposure to toxic materials at ground zero.

Golden said a full accounting of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks would have to include the effects on the health of first-responders and others who toiled at the trade center debris pile.

The event came a day after the funeral of police officer Cesar Borja, 58, who died of lung disease believed to have resulted from ground zero recovery activity.

01-29-2007, 07:27 PM
New York Sen. Clinton asks Bush to meet with Sept. 11 cop's son


The Associated Press
1/29/2007, 5:46 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton asked President Bush on Monday to meet with the son of a Sept. 11 police officer who recently died after a long battle with lung problems.

Clinton, D-N.Y., made her request in a letter two days before the president is scheduled to visit New York for a speech to the Association for a Better New York.

The senator's letter centers on the case of former New York Police Department Officer Cesar Borja. The 52-year-old died Jan. 23 just as his son, 21-year-old college student Ceasar Borja Jr., was preparing to attend Bush's State of the Union address.

The young man was Clinton's guest at the speech.

Hours after learning of his father's death due to pulmonary fibrosis, the younger Borja decided to attend the speech as a way to honor his father and bring attention to those who are still sick many years after working at the demolished World Trade Center site.

A day after the speech, he publicly asked for a meeting with the president to tell him about the health problems of ground zero workers.

Clinton, a presidential contender, wrote to Bush urging him to agree to meet Borja.

"While you are in New York City, I ask that you accept the request of Ceasar Borja Jr. to meet with you," she wrote, calling the son "one of so many whose lives have been changed by the devastating health effects of 9/11."

The senator, who has offered legislation that would pay $1.9 billion for health care treatment for sick Sept. 11 workers, said Borja's case is one example of the needs of many more ground zero responders.

"People are still carrying incredible burdens in the aftermath of 9/11," she wrote.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Monday.

01-29-2007, 10:15 PM
Bush 'Hopeful' of Meeting with Son of Dead NYPD Cop
Former NYPD officer Cesar Borja died Jan. 23. He had been fighting a sever lung disease, which his family believes he contracted by working at Ground Zero. His son attended the President's State of the Union.


Created: Monday, 29 Jan 2007, 8:53 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House said late Monday that President Bush might meet in two days with a New York college student whose father recently died from what some believe was a Sept. 11-caused illness.

"The president is hopeful that a meeting can be arranged when he is in New York this week," White House spokesman Alex Conant said.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., had asked Bush on Monday to meet with Ceasar Borja Jr., the son of a Sept. 11 police officer who died last week after a long battle with lung problems. She made her request in a letter two days before the president is scheduled to visit New York for a speech to the Association for a Better New York.

The senator's letter centers on the case of former New York Police Department Officer Cesar Borja. The 52-year-old died Jan. 23 just as his 21-year-old son was preparing to attend Bush's State of the Union address.

The young man was Clinton 's guest at the speech.

Just hours after learning of his father's death due to pulmonary fibrosis, the younger Borja decided to go ahead and attend the speech as a way to honor his father and bring attention to those who are still sick many years after working at the demolished World Trade Center site.

A day after the speech, he publicly asked for a meeting with the president to tell him about the health problems of ground zero workers.

Clinton, a presidential contender, wrote to Bush urging him to agree to meet Borja.

"While you are in New York City , I ask that you accept the request of Ceasar Borja Jr. to meet with you," she wrote, calling the son "one of so many whose lives have been changed by the devastating health effects of 9/11."

The senator, who has offered legislation that would pay $1.9 billion for health care treatment for sick Sept. 11 workers, said Borja's case is one example of the needs of many more ground zero responders.

01-30-2007, 03:40 PM
AP Newbreak: Bush's budget proposes adding 9/11 health funds


The Associated PressPublished: January 30, 2007

WASHINGTON: The Bush administration plans to keep funding health programs for sick ground zero workers, enough to keep the effort alive at least through 2007, New York lawmakers said Tuesday.

New York Rep. Vito Fossella, a Republican, said the administration next week will propose spending at least $25 million (€19.3 million) more to fund a Sept. 11-related health care program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan and a related effort for New York firefighters.

"It's a breakthrough," said Fossella. "For the first time in the federal budget there will be a down payment to provide for funding for continued treatment and monitoring for 9/11 responders who need our help."

Word of the new money comes a day before Bush is due to speak in New York City about the economy, and sick Sept. 11 workers plan a rally timed to the visit. It is also a week before Bush offers his budget proposal to the U.S. Congress.

New York lawmakers have spent years lobbying for funding to support ground zero workers suffering from health problems. New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Manhattan Democrat, called the move "long overdue," adding that the health programs should treat "all those exposed and affected."

The issue gained new attention last week when a former New York City police officer died of lung problems, more than five years after he worked at ground zero.

Cesar Borja was 52, and died awaiting a lung transplant. His son, Ceasar Borja, Jr., is seeking a personal meeting with Bush in New York. The 21-year-old college student attended Bush's annual State of the Union address to Congress last week — hours after his father's death — to call attention to the issue.

A White House official said Bush is "hopeful" a meeting can be arranged.

The government delivered $75 million (€57.8 million) for Sept. 11 health programs last year, but health advocates had warned that money was due to run out by the summer.

Under the new White House proposal, those programs would remain funded through the end of the year — and their inclusion in the president's budget suggests it may be easier to continue funding through future years.

The Borja case is one of several deaths that have generated increasing public pressure for the government to do more for those who are still sick years after working on the toxic debris pile at the World Trade Center site.

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has called for a $1.9 billion (€1.46 billion) federal effort to provide years of treatment to those sick workers.

Mount Sinai Medical Center, which has screened about 19,000 such workers, released a report last year finding nearly seven out of every 10 ground zero responders suffered lung problems.

01-30-2007, 03:41 PM
Just so everyone knows, that is...


01-31-2007, 09:46 AM
Sick 9/11 workers plan rally timed to Bush NYC visit today



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ceasar Borja Jr. lost his father last week when the former New York City police officer died awaiting a lung transplant, more than five years after he worked at ground zero.

A day after the Bush administration announced that it would propose spending at least $25 million more to fund a Sept. 11-related health care program, Borja, 21, may get a chance to meet with the president to talk about ailing ground zero workers.

"I want the president to know that he has to take care of these people, because many more will die," Borja told the Daily News in Wednesday's edition. "Any sum of money is a help, and I just hope that it continues."

Bush is expected in the city on Wednesday where he will give a speech on the economy, while sick Sept. 11 workers planned a rally timed to his visit.

The administration next week will propose the additional funding of the Sept. 11-related health care program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan and a related effort for New York firefighters.

White House officials said they would consider providing more money, depending on the findings of a separate government task force that is examining Sept. 11-related health issues.

"We consider this a good starting point," said White House budget spokesman Sean Kevelighan.

The programs had been expected to run out of money by the summer. A grant made last year of $75 million was expected to last until then.

Rep. Vito Fossella, R-Staten Island, called the news "a breakthrough" after years of seeking more help from the government.

"For the first time in the federal budget there will be a down payment to provide for funding for continued treatment and monitoring for Sept. 11 responders who need our help," Fossella said.

The issue of ailing ground zero workers gained new attention just last week when former police officer Cesar Borja, 52, died of lung problems. His son, a college student, attended Bush's annual State of the Union address to Congress last week -- hours after his father's death -- to call attention to the issue.

Borja came as the personal guest of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said Tuesday she was pleased "the President has agreed to meet with Ceasar Borja Jr. tomorrow and to hear his family's case for funding vitally needed to keep our treatment programs open. ... We cannot allow these critical health care services to dry up."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the funding "encouraging," adding in a statement that treatment programs "are working well, but will need vastly more support from Washington."

Fossella said he learned of the additional funding in a Tuesday morning meeting with the head of the White House budget office, Rob Portman. Two other New York Republicans, Peter King, of Long Island, and James Walsh, of Syracuse, also attended the meeting.

The White House often gives lawmakers advance notice of good news contained in the budget proposal, which must still be approved by Congress.

Fossella and Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan have spent years lobbying for Sept. 11 health funding. Maloney, D-N.Y., called the move "long overdue," adding that the health programs should treat "all those exposed and affected," including lower Manhattan residents.

The $25 million figure would probably change after the administration gets more details from the hospital and New York City about their patients, and Fossella said the goal was not to hit a specific dollar target but to continue treating those patients.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat whose district includes ground zero, said the $25 million was a "first step forward" in getting the government to respond to the health needs but argued the dollar figure was grossly inadequate.

Under the new White House proposal, those programs would remain funded through the end of the year -- and their inclusion in the president's budget suggests it may be easier to continue funding through future years.

"Obviously, it's going to cost more than $25 million," said King. "But in the course of the last year, they've seen the health problems arising from 9/11, so now the only question is what is the extent of it and how to meet those needs."

The death last week of Officer Borja is one of several fatalities that have generated increasing public pressure for the government to do more for those who are still sick years after working on the toxic debris pile at the World Trade Center site.

Clinton, D-N.Y., has called for a $1.9 billion federal effort to provide years of treatment to those sick workers.

Mount Sinai, which has screened some 19,000 such workers, released a report last year finding nearly seven out of every 10 ground zero responders suffered lung problems.

One of the doctors who authored that study, Dr. Robin Herbert, has said thousands will likely need long-term health care.

01-31-2007, 03:42 PM
President Meets With Son Of 9/11 First Responder


January 31, 2007

President George W. Bush was in the city today to deliver a speech on the economy, but he also met with the son of a September 11th, 2001 first responder, who died last week waiting for a lung transplant.

Bush met with Ceasar Borja, Jr., who has been on a crusade in his father's name to get funding for other first responders who have become ill.

During the meeting Borja, Jr. said he asked for the federal government to completely fund any medical treatment for anyone suffering for a 9/11 related illness.

"I expressed how the funding should be expanded, not just for the heroes and heroines that were present there without hesitation, who ran to save, rescue, and ensure a future for all of the lives that they found there."

Borja, Jr., who brought his mother and siblings to the meeting with the president, also credited the residents and merchants of Lower Manhattan for their speedy recovery of the WTC area.

The meeting comes along with word from the White House that it will budget $25 million to help ailing 9/11 workers. The money is being set aside for programs at Mount Sinai Medical Center and for New York City firefighters.

"There is finally an acknowledgement at the federal level that there is a federal responsibility to help those men and women who responded so heroically and volunteered their services after 9/11," said Staten Island Congressman Vito Fossella.

Critics at a rally by the WTC site today say $25 million is hardly enough to treat the looming health care problems.

The White House calls the money a starting point and says it will consider more funding in the future.

Meanwhile, the president gave a State of the Economy speech before a crowd of business and political leaders at Federal Hall this morning. During the address he was very optimistic about the economy. Introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bush applauded the city’s recovery after 9/11. He called on Congress to keep taxes low and invest in alternative fuel sources.

Bush also took on the huge salaries and bonuses that some corporate executives received and the outrage that followed. The president said those pay packages should be made public.

“Government should not decide the compensation for America’s corporate executives,” said Bush. “But the salaries and bonuses of CEOs should be based on their success on approving their companies and bringing value to their shareholders.”

The president also revealed that he is allocating $2 billion in his budget to help construct the JFK Lower Manhattan Rail Link something that both city and state officials have been lobbying for quite some time.

01-31-2007, 03:46 PM
Sick 9/11 workers protest at Ground Zero


January 31, 2007, 1:51 PM EST

Sick 9/11 workers and residents gathered near ground zero before President Bush's speech on Wednesday to criticize as inadequate his proposal to spend an additional $25 million to fund a health care program.

About a dozen people rallied near the World Trade Center site about an hour before Bush delivered the economic speech at nearby Federal Hall.

Ceasar Borja Jr., who lost his father, a ground zero worker, last week was originally scheduled to attend the rally. But instead, he was preparing for a meeting with the president.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush planned to meet privately after his speech with Borja; his mother, Eva; brother, Evan; and sister, Nhia.

"First responders who need treatment will get the treatment they need," Snow said earlier Wednesday. "Many are already covered by insurance programs, many through their union; but if there are gaps in that, we're going to do it." Rally participant Mariama James, who lives four blocks from ground zero and has three children with health problems she attributes to Sept. 11, said she spends $480 a month in copays for their allergy, sinusitis and asthma medicines.

"You have committed hundreds of millions of dollars to protect us from those who would do us harm," James said of Bush. "We ask that you protect us from those who did us harm. The $25 million is not enough even for the needs of the workers." The Bush administration next week will propose the additional funding of the Sept. 11-related health care program at Mount Sinai Medical Center and a related effort for New York firefighters.

White House officials said they would consider providing more money, depending on the findings of a separate government task force.

"We consider this a good starting point," White House budget spokesman Sean Kevelighan said Tuesday.

The programs had been expected to run out of money by the summer. A grant made last year of $75 million was expected to last until then.

Protester Marvin Bethea, 47, said doctors have told him that those who responded to ground zero on the first day had their lungs age 12 years.

He said "$25 million is absolutely not enough," pointing out that some legislators, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, have proposed $1.9 billion in additional funds. "That's a big gap." "Bush does not fathom the full picture," agreed Ron Vega, 48, who spent 10 months at ground zero as a construction project manager. "People started dying and now they pay attention. Unless you're dying or dead, no one pays attention." Mount Sinai, which has screened some 19,000 such workers, said last year that nearly seven out of every 10 ground zero responders suffered lung problems. One of the doctors who authored that study, Dr. Robin Herbert, has said thousands will likely need long-term health care.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the funding "encouraging," adding that treatment programs "are working well, but will need vastly more support from Washington." Reps. Vito Fossella and Carolyn Maloney have spent years lobbying for Sept. 11 health funding. Maloney, D-N.Y., on Tuesday called the move "long overdue," adding that the health programs should treat "all those exposed and affected," including lower Manhattan residents.

The $25 million figure would probably change after the administration gets more details from the hospital and New York City about their patients, and Fossella said the goal was not to hit a specific dollar target but to continue treating those patients.

01-31-2007, 07:38 PM
9/11 Workers: Bush Health Upgrade Plan Inadequate


Associated Press Writer
Created: Wednesday, 31 Jan 2007, 12:11 PM EST

NEW YORK -- Sick 9/11 workers and residents gathered near ground zero before President Bush's speech on Wednesday to criticize as inadequate his proposal to spend an additional $25 million to fund a health care program.

About a dozen people rallied near the World Trade Center site about an hour before Bush delivered the economic speech at nearby Federal Hall.

Ceasar Borja Jr., who lost his father, a ground zero worker, last week was originally scheduled to attend the rally. But instead, he was preparing for a meeting with the president.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush planned to meet privately after his speech with Borja; his mother, Eva; brother, Evan; and sister, Nhia.

"First responders who need treatment will get the treatment they need," Snow said earlier Wednesday. "Many are already covered by insurance programs, many through their union; but if there are gaps in that, we're going to do it."

Rally participant Mariama James, who lives four blocks from ground zero and has three children with health problems she attributes to Sept. 11, said she spends $480 a month in copays for their allergy, sinusitis and asthma medicines.

"You have committed hundreds of millions of dollars to protect us from those who would do us harm," James said of Bush. "We ask that you protect us from those who did us harm. The $25 million is not enough even for the needs of the workers."

The Bush administration next week will propose the additional funding of the Sept. 11-related health care program at Mount Sinai Medical Center and a related effort for New York firefighters.

White House officials said they would consider providing more money, depending on the findings of a separate government task force.

"We consider this a good starting point," White House budget spokesman Sean Kevelighan said Tuesday.

The programs had been expected to run out of money by the summer. A grant made last year of $75 million was expected to last until then.

Protester Marvin Bethea, 47, said doctors have told him that those who responded to ground zero on the first day had their lungs age 12 years.

He said "$25 million is absolutely not enough," pointing out that some legislators, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, have proposed $1.9 billion in additional funds. "That's a big gap."

"Bush does not fathom the full picture," agreed Ron Vega, 48, who spent 10 months at ground zero as a construction project manager. "People started dying and now they pay attention. Unless you're dying or dead, no one pays attention."

Mount Sinai, which has screened some 19,000 such workers, said last year that nearly seven out of every 10 ground zero responders suffered lung problems. One of the doctors who authored that study, Dr. Robin Herbert, has said thousands will likely need long-term health care.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the funding "encouraging," adding that treatment programs "are working well, but will need vastly more support from Washington."

Reps. Vito Fossella and Carolyn Maloney have spent years lobbying for Sept. 11 health funding. Maloney, D-N.Y., on Tuesday called the move "long overdue," adding that the health programs should treat "all those exposed and affected," including lower Manhattan residents.

The $25 million figure would probably change after the administration gets more details from the hospital and New York City about their patients, and Fossella said the goal was not to hit a specific dollar target but to continue treating those patients.

02-01-2007, 10:32 AM

02-06-2007, 09:43 AM
Health problems linger for 9/11 workers



Nearly a month after his wife was seriously burned in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Greg Manning summoned the courage to visit Ground Zero.

The World Trade Center office executive needed an escort with security clearance. He found one in Lucie Ferrell, a former Augsburg College nursing professor and senior American Red Cross volunteer from the Twin Cities.

"Over the past week, (Ferrell) has spent considerable time at the hospital, coordinating Red Cross assistance with the various patient families,'' Manning writes in "Love, Greg and Lauren'' (Bantam Books, 2002).

The book is an emotionally moving collection of e-mails Manning sent to a network of friends during his wife's painful but inspiring recovery from burns on more than 80 percent of her body.

"(Ferrell) has pointed out that the disaster is larger than anything the organization has experienced, and notes that we are all — patients, families, health care workers and volunteers — writing the rules as we go: how to deal with individual loss and collective loss and how to come with the daily and long-term struggles that so many of us are facing.''

The words were prophetic.

More than five years later, Ferrell is among the thousands of Ground Zero workers and volunteers suffering from long-term health problems as a result of their exposure to toxic chemicals and materials that lingered in the air at the site for months.

Ferrell, who had a mild case of asthma before her volunteer work, has the telltale "World Trade Center cough" that doctors have found in many cases.

She also suffers from stomach ailments that have plagued others as well. She has vocal cord dysfunction, a serious condition that involuntarily closes off the breathing passage.

"It's something to live with,'' says Ferrell, a Mahtomedi resident who worked as a manager at a White Bear Lake coffee shop until health problems forced her to take a leave of absence recently.

Ferrell also is concerned about the welfare of other Ground Zero workers from Minnesota who may not have linked their health problems with their exposure or are not aware of health responses to the exposure.

"I believe there are others out there who may not know,'' says Ferrell.

A study released last fall by New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center found almost 70 percent of 9,500 Ground Zero workers, volunteers and others examined had new or worsened respiratory symptoms such as laryngitis, asthma and vocal cord dysfunction.

More than 800 people from 39 states, including Minnesota, and two Canadian provinces underwent medical screening for Ground Zero-related symptoms at clinics affiliated with the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics.

Of those, eight were screened in Minnesota, says Katherine Kirkland, the association's executive director. The clinics, under a contract first with Mount Sinai and now with the American Red Cross, may pick up exam and treatment costs for certain illnesses if the patients meet a criteria set up by the World Trade Center Medical Screening Program. One criterion is that the patient must have performed certain functions at Ground Zero from Sept 11, 2001, until the end of that year.

"We really would like, if there are people out there, to get the word out about this,'' said Kirkland, adding the bulk of publicity over the post-9/11 health concerns has mostly dealt with the greater New York area.

Ferrell herself was unaware of the clinics performing the services. She came back to the Twin Cities and saw a battery of doctors who may have been clueless about the Ground Zero link. In fact, New York City's Department of Health reportedly did not release any guidelines for diagnosing 9/11-related illnesses until this past summer.

Respiratory experts at the National Jewish Research and Medical Center in Denver made the connection.

Besides medical assistance, officials at the New York State Worker's Compensation Board also are urging those who worked or volunteered at Ground Zero to register for financial compensation before Aug. 14. Again, the board has its own criteria for those who may be eligible. But the registration is valid for those who don't feel ill at all.

"We have learned from the events following the (1999) bombing in Oklahoma City that some victims don't exhibit or display symptoms — particularly on the mental health end — until six years after the event,'' said Jonathan Bennett, director of public affairs at the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. The union advocacy group has monitored government's response to the terrorist attacks and posts a daily news digest of health-related information on its Web site.

"Ferrell estimates her medical bills approach $100,000, most of it on her dime because she did not have health insurance after she returned. She is now in danger of losing her home. But still, she has no regrets.

"I would do it all over again," she says. "It was without a doubt a life-affirming experience. I just hope that people out there get the help they need.''

Rubén Rosario can be reached at rrosario@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5454.

More information: To learn about Ground Zero benefits eligibility, contact the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics at 888-347-2632 or the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program at 888-702-0630.

Online: The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health posts a news digest of 9/11-related issues at www.nycosh.org (http://www.nycosh.org).

02-08-2007, 10:43 PM
9/11 responder to President: We need more



By Brian Zanzonico
February 08, 2007

Vito Valenti wants to be the voice of ill 9/11 responders, and he wants the President to hear him.

When Vito Valenti walked into Gleason Funeral Home in Bayside for the funeral of NYPD officer Ceasar Borja, oxygen tank in tow, most of the wet eyes turned to him.

Most of the people there knew about Valenti, he said. Knew that he, like Borja, worked at ground zero after the attacks of 9/11. They also knew that pulmonary fibrosis, which killed Borja, was devastating Valenti's lungs.

"It was open casket, and I was sitting there looking at Ceasar, and for a second, I saw myself lying in the casket," Valenti said. "I got up and had to walk to the back."

Borja's 21-year-old son, Cesar, campaigned during his father's last days for the White House to allocate more money to treat ground zero workers who have gotten ill from breathing in the toxic dust that settled after the two towers fell. Borja was a guest of Sen. Hillary Clinton at Bush's State of the Union address in Washington, and later met with the president when he visited New York. A day before their meeting, Bush announced he will propose spending at least $25 million more to fund a health care program for 9/11 responders at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan and a separate program for New York firefighters.

Valenti said $25 million would be a good start, but that much more is needed to care for the ailing workers who spent extended periods of time at ground zero.

"Is it enough? No, I don't think it's enough," Valenti said last week, noting that days before Bush's announcement, Clinton, who was at the Elmont American Legion hall stumping for Democratic candidate for state Senate Craig Johnson, asked Bush for $1.9 billion. "I've been told that a double lung transplant costs maybe three or four million dollars, and that's one person."

Valenti's lungs were severely damaged by the toxins he inhaled while working at ground zero following the 9/11 attacks, and as a result he needs a double lung transplant. Forced to quit his job as a grievance representative for Local 372, which represents Board of Education employees, because of the illness, Valenti also had to give up his health benefits. He has lived on donated oxygen for months because the deadline for reporting workers' compensation claims expired long before he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Without a double lung transplant, pulmonary fibrosis sufferers usually die within five or six years.

His health insurance ran out before he completed a series of tests that would have put him on the national waiting list for a lung transplant. But a judge ruled on Dec. 20, 2006, that Valenti is entitled to workers' compensation, which will cover medical expenses associated with his pulmonary fibrosis and allow him to see doctors and finally get his name on the transplant list. He also receives $400 a week in back pay from August 2005.

John Feal, Valenti's friend and the founder of the Feal Good Foundation, an advocacy group for 9/11 first responders suffering from ground zero-related illnesses, called the workers' compensation ruling encouraging, but added that more must be done to help those who have gotten sick. "Individually, that's great," said Feal, a demolition supervisor who lost part of his foot when it was crushed by an eight-ton beam during the recovery effort at ground zero. "What stinks is that so many others in his position that have 9/11 illnesses still have problems getting [their compensation], or may never get theirs. Vito won a battle, but it's still a long war."

Valenti said there are many others like him, and to draw attention to their plight, he wants to be the living, breathing symbol of the 9/11 responders who have gotten ill.

"I want to be the voice," he said. "I want to go to the president and say 'enough is enough, we've lost too many lives.'"

At Borja's wake, as Valenti offered condolences to the late policeman's family, his wife grabbed him.

"Cesar's mom said, Are you Vito? She burst out crying and held me," Valenti said.

"My heart goes out to you. I see you with the oxygen tank and I think of my husband. God bless you."

Comments about this story? FSeditor@liherald.com or (516) 569-4000 ext. 240.

02-11-2007, 09:14 AM
Coroner: Not Sure If 9/11 Toxins Killed Borja


Last Edited: Saturday, 10 Feb 2007, 9:37 PM EST
Created: Saturday, 10 Feb 2007, 9:37 PM EST

MyFoxNY.com -- New York City's chief medical examiner found that a rare lung disease killed retired cop and 9/11 first responder Cesar Borja.

However, he can't exactly say what caused Borja's illness.

His family believes toxic air at Ground Zero is to blame. Borja was among the first responders who worked at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Borja's death inspired President Bush to earmark $25 million to help pay medical expenses for first responders.

Cesar Borja died Jan. 23. His son, Ceasar Jr., attended the president's State of the Union address with Sen. Hillary Clinton.

02-11-2007, 04:33 PM
Benefit set for 9/11 rescue worker



Posted by the Ocean County Observer on 02/11/07

TOMS RIVER — It still feels like the Twin Towers are falling for Joe Picurro.

Picurro, a 9/11 responder who spent 28 days at Ground Zero, has lost 26 pounds in the last three weeks, due to the leukemia he was diagnosed with in August that is directly related to his 28-day volunteer work.

His doctor told him Friday afternoon it is likely the leukemia has reached stage four. "He is really, really bad," said Joe's wife Laura. "He hasn't been able to get out of bed for almost three weeks."

Under his doctor's advice, Joe Picurro has not received chemotherapy for his cancer because of the severe vomiting that is caused from the radiation treatment. Doctors said the chemotherapy could cause further cancer in Picurro's throat and a bone marrow transplant would be a safer form of treatment.

"They agreed to tell me when it was late in the game and now it's late in the game," he said.

Picurro will be admitted into a hospital in two weeks so doctors can find a bone marrow match. While Picurro is hopeful one of this two twin sisters will be a match, friend John Feal said he would be the back up plan.

"I offered my bone marrow to him," said Feal. "I would sacrifice myself for any 9/11 responder."

Aside from offering his own marrow, Feal's nonprofit organization — the FealGood Foundation — was created to assist responders like Picurro. The foundation will be sponsoring an upcoming benefit for Picurro and responder Father Stephen Petrovich along with the Artists4Hope organization.

The benefit costs $50 a ticket and is free for 9/11 responders. It will be held from 2-7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Captain Hooks in Seaside Heights with The Hitmen performing while guests enjoy food, giveaways, raffle drawing and the auctioning of a Paul Reed Smith guitar that was sent to the recent James Brown Tribute in Los Angeles for performing artists' signatures.

The cherry wood electric guitar has signatures from band members in 3 Doors Down, the David Sanborn band, the Ted Nugent band, the Dixie Chicks, the Jethro Tull band, Quiet Riot and Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.

Paul Reed also placed his signature on the guitar he donated for the benefit and paid for it to be transported to Los Angeles and back to the Picurro's home for the benefit.

The guitar will be posted on eBay Feb. 14 so it can receive the most exposure before the event and the auctioning will end at the benefit with the highest bidder. Feal said he started the foundation to help responders financially and to advocate for them before the U.S. Congress. A 9/11 responder himself for 5 days, Feal lost half of his left foot at Ground Zero when an 8,000 pound beam fell on his foot, causing gangrene to set in, requiring a partial amputation.

Feal said after he felt sorry for himself for about a year; then, after he realized other responders were worse off, he decided to create the FealGood Foundation. "People are suffering and dying and there is nothing I can do to save Joe Picurro and Father Stephen, but I can help ease the pain," he said.

Feal believes the recent $25 million pledge by President Bush to help rescue workers who have been sickened from the site is "political bread crumbs."

"They shouldn't have to suffer because the federal government remains idle," he said, adding, "And the lack of compassion that has trickled down from our leaders has become a snowball in society where 9/11 responders are being forgotten."

Petrovich came to New York from Cleveland to bless the Ground Zero soil, and to help where he could. He said yesterday from his home in Ohio he was blessed himself to meet Joe and Laura Picurro.

The 17 days Petrovich spent keeping the faith among responders, he developed a chronic lung disease and had to have a precancerous part of tongue removed.

"They (government officials) knew who were there because of our identification and never contacted to us tell us something could have been wrong with us," he said, adding Laura Picurro was the one who "knew New York proper" and gave him the numbers he needed to be treated for the illness he contacted from Ground Zero. "It was our duty to go."

While Laura is fighting to keep her husband alive, she is still helping provide the needed assistance for Petrovich, arranging a free round trip flight donated by the Salvation Army of Union and seeing that the Hershey Motel in Seaside Heights would donate a room for his stay along with three other rooms for first responders who will coming to the benefit.

"He is coming up for the benefit but the main thing is to get him to Mount Sinai on the Monday after the benefit," Laura said, adding she will be taking him to New York.

Though the Joe Picurro has been denied funds and treatment promised him by the New York Worker's Compensation Board and the federal government, leaving the family with $63,000 in unpaid medical bills, Laura Picurro said the benefit is not about money that will be raised but more importantly it is "to raise awareness about what we are going through." t

She said a hundred percent of the benefit proceeds will be split between her husband Joe and Petrovich.

"New York (Workers Compensation Board) made it clear they will not cover any type of cancer treatment," she said, adding she can longer be anxious over insurance coverage because she is to concerned with her husband's health.

To purchase a ticket to the benefit or make a donation to Picurro or Petrovich, visit www.fealgoodfoundation.com.

02-13-2007, 08:35 AM
'NYT' Disputes Media -- And Politicians' -- Accounts of 9/11 'Hero'


By E&P Staff
Published: February 12, 2007 11:00 PM ET

NEW YORK In a major Tuesday article, The New York Times casts doubts on recent accounts -- by everyone from rival New York Daily News to President Bush and Sen. Hillary Clinton -- of an alleged hero of 9/11, a New York City police officer named Cesar A. Borja.

It's not disputed that he indeed died of lung disease and spent time at Ground Zero in New York. He has been "held up as a symbol of the medical crisis affecting the thousands of emergency personnel and construction workers who labored on the smoking remains of the fallen World Trade Center after the 9/11 attack," as the Times puts it. This even brought his son an invitation to sit in the gallery, and earn an ovation, at this year's State of the Union address.

But the Times' Sewell Chan and Al Baker now write on Tuesday, "It turns out, though, that very few of the most dramatic aspects of Officer Borja’s powerful story appear to be fully accurate. Government records and detailed interviews with Officer Borja’s family indicate that he did not rush to the disaster site, and that he did not work a formal shift there until late December 2001, after substantial parts of the site had been cleared and the fire in the remaining pile had been declared out.

"Officer Borja worked traffic and security posts on the streets around the site, according to his own memo book, and there is no record of his working 16 hours in a shift. He worked a total of 17 days, according to his records, and did not work as a volunteer there. He signed up for the traffic duty, his wife said, at least in part as a way to increase his overtime earnings as he prepared to retire.

“'It’s not true,' Eva R. Borja, the officer’s wife, said of the Daily News account of his rushing there shortly after the collapse of the trade center. In two extensive interviews, Mrs. Borja displayed her husband’s memo book, where he kept detailed notes about his work across his career. The first entry for working at ground zero is Dec. 24, 2001. Almost all the rest come in February, March and April 2002, five or more months after the attacks.

"Mrs. Borja said she still believed her husband was sickened in his work around the site. Shown his father’s memo book, Ceasar Borja, who had become something of a spokesman for ailing 9/11 workers, said it was the first time he understood what his father had actually done....

"It is hard to determine precisely how the apparent misinformation about Mr. Borja’s work at ground zero came to be reflected in newspapers, as well as in television and radio broadcasts. The family says it was not the source of the claims about working on the smoking pile. A spokeswoman for The Daily News insisted the paper had never explicitly said Officer Borja had rushed there soon after Sept. 11, only that at some point he had rushed there. Despite a number of articles and editorials that referred to him working amid the rubble and within a cloud of glass and concrete, she said the paper never actually reported his arriving there before December....

"Other newspaper accounts repeated the account of Officer Borja’s work on the rubble without attributing it to anyone.

"Mrs. Borja and her son said that The New York Times was the first newspaper to ask them for documents showing Officer Borja’s actual duties at ground zero."

The Times story continued, explaining that Borja's son had emailed newspapers and The Daily News responded. Throughout January, The News and other papers published numerous articles on Officer Borja’s case. The News "comped" the son's trip to Washington for the State of the Union speech.

The New York Times itself published an article on Officer Borja, after he died at 52 on the evening of the State of the Union address. The article said he had died after becoming sick after working at ground zero.

The Tuesday article concludes: "Finally, Ceasar Borja, after having absorbed the implications of his father’s records, said he was no less proud. 'I’m actually happy to know he wasn’t on the pile,' he said, adding that those who were must be in even graver shape. He concluded: 'I don’t believe my father to be any less heroic than I previously thought, any less valiant than the other papers previously misreported on.'”

02-13-2007, 09:21 AM
Doubts Raised About 9/11 Cop Borja's Story
Son Met With Bush, Who Promised Help For Ground Zero Workers


Magee Hickey

(CBS) NEW YORK Doubts are being raised about the story of Cesar Borja, the former New York City police officer who died of lung disease that was attributed to his work at Ground Zero. But how much he actually worked at Ground Zero is now in question.

In death, Cesar Borja became the poster child for ailing 9/11 recovery workers. The police officer died while awaiting a lung transplant. He had rushed to Ground Zero, according to the Daily News, after the World Trade Center towers fell.

He reportedly breathed in the toxic dust and did not wear protective gear because the federal government declared that the air was safe.

Sen. Hillary Clinton and President Bush both embraced his son, Ceasar Borja Jr.

(PHOTO: President Bush met with the Borja family in early February.)

CBS 2 was there when Ceasar Borja Jr. got the call from Rep. Vito Fossella, asking him to meet with Bush on during the president's trip to the city.

"I just want to say to the president, 'You have the honor and the power to help, and you can stop this. You can prevent this, and you can do this right now,'" Borja Jr. said.

"This to me is not just a photo op -- this is a meeting a crucial meeting. I am not a poster boy. I am a voice, and I am fighting for this," said Borja Jr.

After meeting the 21 year old, Bush promised more money for first responders -- those first on the scene in the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks.

But now, according to a Page One story in The New York Times, many of the facts in the Borja story are not quite accurate.

The police officer, 46-years-old at the time, apparently did not rush to work on "the pile."

According to government records and interviews with family members, Borja did not arrive at Ground Zero until December 24, 2001 -- four months after the attacks. He worked traffic and security on the streets around the site, according to his own memo book, for a total of 17 days.

There were no 16-hour shifts, and according to his widow, he worked traffic duty as a way to increase his overtime earnings as he prepared to retire.

Mrs. Borja said that she still believes her husband was sickened by his work around the site, and Ceasar Borja Jr. said he never called his dying father a "first responder" until newspaper stories did.

A city autopsy on Cesar Borja is still underway. Doctors say there might still be a connection between his death and his work at Ground Zero.

02-13-2007, 02:50 PM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/02132007/news/regionalnews/fdny_has__cure_for_wtc_woes_regionalnews_carl_camp anile.htm


February 13, 2007 -- Thousands of sick World Trade Center rescue workers - including firefighters and paramedics - will get free prescription drugs to help treat their medical conditions, the FDNY said yesterday.

Fire brass said they're using millions of dollars in federal funds to help subsidize the purchase of medications and waive the typical co-payment required as part of city/labor health plans.

WTC responders have complained they've had to front the costs for expensive medications and pay hundreds of dollars in co-payments.

Union officials say they've had to deplete health-benefits funds to help cover the extraordinary 9/11-related drug costs.

02-13-2007, 08:06 PM
NY Mayor Seeks More Federal Money for 9/11 Victims


By Barbara Schoetzau
New York
13 February 2007

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined the chorus of state officials calling on the federal government to provide the city with more funding for sustained treatment of 9/11-related illnesses. From VOA's New York Bureau, correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports.

Bloomberg made public the findings of a panel assigned to review the health impact of the 9/11 attacks on the city and to determine what needs to be done to help those affected over the long term.

The panel found a significant lack of funding for 9/11 health programs, including absolutely no federal support for the treatment of residents and other non-first responders.

The report concludes that the health impact of the attacks on the World Trade Center September 11, 2001, is costing New York's health care system $393 million each year. The panel recommends the federal government contribute $150 million a year for essential health programs.

Bloomberg says he welcomes President Bush's recent pledge of an additional $25 million to the city. But he says it is not enough. At the very least, the mayor says, the federal government must cover the costs that are essential.

"President Bush's preliminary budget does not address these ongoing needs so I will work closely with our congressional delegation to make sure this critical funding is secured. I believe that our first responders were responding to an act of war against this nation and the federal has a clear responsibility to them that it must meet," he said.

Bloomberg says he is accepting all the reports recommendations, including the establishment of a new Victims Compensation Fund.

The Mayor is scheduled to testify on the health funding issue next month before a Senate committee.

02-14-2007, 10:55 AM



February 14, 2007 -- Advocates for ailing World Trade Center responders worried yesterday that the inaccurate account of Police Officer Cesar Borja's work at Ground Zero could hurt the real heroes who showed up on 9/11 and toiled there for months.

The concern stems from a series of Daily News articles that claimed Borja had "rushed" to Ground Zero and worked "in the rubble, breathing in clouds of toxic dust."

However, The New York Times, in a lengthy and detailed investigative report yesterday, revealed that Borja, who died last month of lung-related disease, didn't arrive at Ground Zero until 31/2 months after the attacks, when the fire had been extinguished - mostly to direct traffic several blocks from the smoldering pile.

The Times said Borja worked there for only 17 days.

David Worby, a lawyer representing thousands of WTC responders in a federal negligence suit against the city, said numerous ailing clients called him yesterday in response to the Times report fretting that people won't believe that their illnesses were caused by breathing toxic dust at Ground Zero.

"My clients were disappointed that their credibility could be an issue," Worby said.

"I'm very disappointed with the Daily News," he added. "If you make a poster boy out of someone, you better know what the poster is about."

Detective Mike Valentin, 42, a responder who was at Ground Zero the day the towers fell and worked there for months, said he was disturbed by the disclosure that Borja had spent little time at Ground Zero.

"I think people were looking for a poster child and they picked the wrong one," said Valentin, who worries that Congress now may be wary of providing new health funding for first responders.

Publisher Mort Zuckerman's Daily News reported last month that Borja was hospitalized with pulmonary fibrosis, awaiting a lung transplant - linking his life-threatening illness to working "16-hour shifts in the rubble, breathing in clouds of toxic dust."

"He rushed to Ground Zero and started working long days there - even volunteering to work extra shifts," the News wrote in a Jan. 16 account.

Borja's son, Ceasar Jr., bolstered the account in subsequent statements to the media - drawing the sympathy of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Bush.

Clinton invited Borja Jr. to the president's State of the Union Address - and his father died hours before the speech. Bush met him the following week.

According to the Times, Borja Sr. didn't work an assignment at Ground Zero until Dec. 24, 2001.

Eva Borja, asked by the Times about the Daily News' claims that her husband "rushed" to Ground Zero, admitted: "It's not true."

A Daily News spokeswoman declined comment.

The Times stood by its story, saying it "sought to provide the most accurate depiction of Officer Borja's service near the disaster site at Ground Zero."

Meanwhile, the Borjas yesterday said they didn't intend to lie about Cesar's service, and were eaten alive in a media maelstrom.

"I didn't have time to be correcting everybody. I thought it didn't matter to me. What mattered to me is he got sick and he passed away," Eva Borja said.

The family also insisted that eyewitnesses told them Cesar did work on the pile at some point.

02-16-2007, 10:17 AM
9/11 First Responders: 'We're Dead Men Walking'
Years After Attacks, Many Face Reality Death May Be Near


Dana Tyler

(CBS) NEW YORK More than five years after the 9/11 terror attacks, the full impact of that day is still unknown. First responders who rushed into the collapsing buildings are dealing with health issues they believe could be just the tip of the iceberg.

CBS 2 spoke to many who now say they are dead men walking.

First responders charged toward ground zero on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, united in their mission.

"I saw the second plane hit, both towers come down," Vito Valente said. "It went from day to night."

"When things are at their very worst is when we are at our very best," Mike McCormack added. "It subsequently changed my life forever."

Today, seven out of every 10 suffer from respiratory disease.

And that's just the beginning.

"My wife to this day is still pulling pieces of glass out of my back," John Feal said. "I have nose bleeds on a regular basis, ringing of the ears, can't sleep."

CBS 2 spoke to just six of the 33,000 people who are now being treated after working at ground zero. As time goes by, new health problems emerge, some unexplained.

"I have a rash that's in the back of my leg now," Valente said.

"The fear is that most of us are going to get some kind of cancer in our esophagus," Feal said.

They also suffer from massive migraines, unexplained rashes and aches and pains that defy explanation.

Dr. Jacqueline Moline of Mount Sinai's Monitoring and Treatment Program said she's often powerless.

"We're hearing the same complaints over and over and over again," Moline said.

Mount Sinai monitors nearly 20,000 first responders on a continual basis.

"There is no doubt in the minds of any of us who've seen the thousands of responders that their health had been adversely affected by these exposures," Moline said.

For many, the picture is grim.

"We will unfortunately outnumber those people who died on 9/11," one of the responders said. "Vito Valente is going to die. Mike McCormack is going to die."

Valente needs a double-lung transplant. McCormack has a piece of metal embedded in his lung after volunteering for eight days at ground zero.

McCormack found the flag that flew atop the Twin Towers.

"It was 1,100 degrees, dark and dusty," McCormack said.

Feal's foot was crushed from falling metal.

"I ended up getting wedged in and buried beneath the ground," Feal said.

Vinny Forras was honored by President Bush. He escaped after being trapped.

Acts of heroism that came at a high price, physically and emotionally.

"It's like walking through a door which you can never return from," one of the responders said.

All of the men said they've had to show proof they worked at ground zero. All of them now also suffer from sleep problems.

02-18-2007, 09:35 PM
9/11 heroes: Gary White



STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Gary White's idea of good fortune is not even close to what it was before Sept. 11, 2001, when he rushed to Ground Zero, returning nearly every day for six months.

"Today is a good day, because I found out I don't have skin cancer," he told an Advance reporter one morning last month.

For a 52-year-old weight-lifter who once commanded the NYPD detective squad in Chinatown and has an obsession with Superman, the news was a ray of light in a life darkened by extreme physical and financial vulnerability.

These days, White is living with permanent brain damage and walks with a cane. Notes are scattered around his Bay Terrace studio apartment so he'll remember his daily rituals of medications, doctors' visits, and what little else he can accomplish outside of meeting his own health needs, like helping his 18-year-old daughter plan for college.

He can concentrate only in short spurts, and a conversation is riddled with frequent pauses as he struggles to regain his train of thought. Even talking to his 15-year-old son about how his day was makes his head pound. White calls it "Rainman head."

"This is not me," said White during an interview in his apartment, which he is leaving this month because he can't afford the rent. "This is not my world. Now I know what every Vietnam veteran feels like, because I'm a veteran, too. I'm a veteran of 9/11."

White's demise began with a rash. Next came the constant cough, and then, with a vengeance, the post-nasal drip. By 2004, the drip was preventing him from sleeping, and White became exhausted.

Rather than treat the breathing problem, his private doctors prescribed him sleep medication, which only made it worse. Exhaustion mixed with depression led to anxiety attacks.

In 2005 White hit his 23rd year with the NYPD and retired. He couldn't prove his health problems were related to 9/11, and therefore couldn't get a line-of-duty disability pension, which carries income and benefits far greater than the regular pension he now gets.

Last March, a visit to the Staten Island University Hospital sleep clinic revealed White stopped breathing between 35 and 40 times each hour. "Sometimes I wake up and I'm gasping for air," he said. "I freaked my son out once that way."

An ear, nose and throat doctor warned him that if he didn't surgically clear his airways, he would soon have a heart attack or stroke.

The stroke hit in September, while White was in the shower, leaving him permanently brain damaged. Maintaining the job he had as a security consultant -- which was financing his medical bills -- was out of the question.

Now he's in the process of trying to collect Social Security while fighting to have his disability pension changed to line-of-duty. He has letters from his neurologist, general physician and pulmonologist saying his health problems are related to the 9/11 work he did.

Meanwhile, White is scheduled for surgery in April to open his nasal passages. He hopes his health insurance will pay for most of it, but he said he doesn't know how he will cover the balance.

9/11 heroes: Edward Wallace



STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- To step foot in Edward Wallace's basement is to understand something fundamental about the retired detective: He would do most anything for his city.

Wood paneling is wallpapered with plaques, merit citations, awards, promotion certificates and diplomas, all earned during his 20 years with the New York Police Department.

Hanging in the center of the accolades is a homemade, postcard-perfect photograph of the city's nighttime skyline, the World Trade Center peeking out from behind the Empire State Building radiating red, white and blue.

But since Sept. 11, 2001, Wallace's devotion has all but washed away under the corrosive one-two punch of physical pain and medical bills. Now the 43-year-old Eltingville resident, who rushed to aid in the recovery at Ground Zero just after his brother, who died of brain cancer, was buried on Sept. 15, says his mayor and the NYPD have walked away from him.

Wallace spent five months shuttling between Ground Zero, Fresh Kills and the morgue as a member of the Crime Scene Unit. Now, he can no longer open jars because his joints constantly ache. Patches of burning red bumps flare up across his body, tumors swell beneath his skin and acid swims in his mouth.

And of course, there's the cough. The ever-present dry hack was his first symptom, kicking in a year after the attacks. Major surgery soon followed, so doctors at Staten Island University Hospital could cut out three sections of his lung.

The biopsies revealed he had sarcoidosis, a disease in which clusters of cells swell and attack organs like the eyes, liver, kidney, skin and, most commonly, the lungs, according to the American Lung Association. One benign tumor on Wallace's hip had grown to the size of a tennis ball when the doctor excised it.

"You look at my medicine chest and see all these medicines there, and you would think I was a senior citizen," said Wallace in his basement one recent night, as his wife Margaret, also a retired first-grade detective, sat nearby with their two sons, Ian, 15, and Brandon, 10.

The medications and doctors visits cost Wallace hundreds of dollars a month in co-pays, which he manages to finance through working as a forensic consultant and teaching classes in counter-terrorism tactics.

Still, anxiety runs high that any day his insurance provider will cut him off, realizing it is wrongly paying to treat illnesses contracted on the job, and therefore the legal responsibility of the police pension system.

When Wallace retired on his 20th year on the job in 2004, the police department rejected his claim that sarcoidosis was a line-of-duty injury. But in addition to sarcoidosis, Wallace has been diagnosed with dermatitis and eosinophilic esophagitis, a disease marked by inflamed white blood cells that attack the esophagus and eat away its lining.

All three of Wallace's diseases appear on the Pataki presumptive bill list.

9/11 heroes: Robert Wallen



STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Sept. 11, 2001, transformed Lt. Robert Wallen from a healthy New York firefighter to bone marrow recipient DRB11101.

Lt. Wallen, formerly a firefighter with Engine 151 in Tottenville, was working his side job at a South Shore polling station for the primary that day when he heard the frantic calls for help over a police radio.

Within two hours, he was at Ground Zero digging through rubble. He worked until midnight the first day, and returned every day for the next week.

During his labor, he wore only a paper mask to shield him from the heavy cloud of toxic dust and debris.

"One fireman, the end of that Tuesday, he says, 'We're all walking dead men.' I said, 'You really think so?' And we never spoke of it again. He understood what was in those buildings," Lt. Wallen recalled.

A few months later, Lt. Wallen went for a checkup with the FDNY's World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program. One platelet count was slightly off. He was told not to worry.

A year later, he began to feel an overwhelming fatigue. By September of 2003, a bone marrow aspirate helped doctors diagnose him with myelodysplastic syndrome, sometimes classified as an early form of cancer characterized by an ineffective production of blood cells.

In a letter from the Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, a doctor linked his ailment to his work at Ground Zero, specifically his exposure to benzene.

Without a bone marrow transplant, Lt. Wallen was told he would die within three years.

"It was awful, absolutely awful. I remember the car ride home. He told me he was going to die in three years. I said to him, 'We have a 3-year-old,'" recalled his wife, Terry Wallen. The couple has three young children -- one of whom has Down syndrome.

In August of 2005, doctors found a match to save Lt. Wallen's life. The Wallens only know him as a 24-year-old man from Europe.

Today, the 42-year-old lieutenant is clear of the disease, but has retired from the FDNY because of his severe fatigue. He takes 26 pills a day.

He estimated he has spent $50,000 of his own money for treatments and drugs, though he was registered with the FDNY's World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program. He borrowed cash from his 92-year-old grandmother.

At one point, a bill collector showed up at his front door to demand money for a hospital stay that his insurance did not cover.

Lt. Wallen describes himself as a 42-year-old man living the life of a senior citizen.

"That's my main problem -- fatigue. I can't do what I used to do and really, it's tough. It's tough getting up in the morning and going through the day," he said.

He wistfully spoke about his grandfather, who chopped wood until he was in his 90s. "I looked at him and I said I wish I could be like him when I'm 90."

02-18-2007, 09:49 PM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/02182007/news/regionalnews/bill_to_let_post_9_11_workers_sue_city_regionalnew s_susan_edelman.htm

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February 18, 2007 -- Mayor Bloomberg wants to bar sick Ground Zero workers from suing the city - but Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney say they will push bills to allow people the choice to either sue or take money from a new victims' compensation fund.

Bloomberg has cooked up a plan to withhold any of the $1 billion in insurance it received from the feds unless the city and its contractors in the Ground Zero cleanup get blanket immunity from lawsuits, officials told The Post.

"We don't believe the city is liable for the acts of 19 terrorists," said Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler.

Without immunity, he said, the city could be socked with suits seeking far more than $1 billion for years to come.

But the city's demand has angered lawyers who want to start settling suits by more than 7,000 workers seeking compensation for respiratory illness, cancer and other diseases from toxic exposure.

"Bloomberg is holding these ill workers hostage - like human shields," said attorney Paul Napoli.

Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Maloney (D-Brooklyn) said they will sponsor legislation to reopen the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund - as Bloomberg urged last week.

But they said it should mirror the original fund, which gave victims the choice to either accept money or go to court. In that case, the plan protected airlines from huge losses.

"The first victims' fund was voluntary and it worked well," Maloney said.


02-18-2007, 09:49 PM
Bloomberg is a cocksucker.

02-19-2007, 10:50 AM
I decided to write Susan Edelman a thank you letter for all of her coverage regarding the environmental disaster.

Dear Susan,

I have been following the environmental impact of the 9/11 attacks for a long time, and I have seen your name come up quite often. I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to cover our heroes. Recently, I held a fund-raiser for the FealGood Foundation (John Feal), and the GearUpFoundation (Vinnie Forras). We raised over $3200. It was on behalf of the 9/11 Truth Movement, and 911Blogger.com. I asked John Feal about you and he said "sue is my girl." I hold John Feal in the highest regard. What he says means something to me. Thank you Susan for all of your efforts.

Sincerest Regards,

Jon Gold

Her response...

Dear Jon,

Thanks so much for your kind note. I care very much about the WTC workers and hope that those sickened by their contribution get the care and financial help they desperately need.

John Feal has been a great ally.

Keep in touch.


02-21-2007, 10:19 AM
After 9/11, Ailing Residents Find a Place to Turn


Published: February 21, 2007

They say they suffer the same rasping cough, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal pains as thousands of rescue and recovery workers who fell ill from the dust and smoke at ground zero. They worry, as the others do, that the future may bring more health problems.

Yet residents, workers and students who returned to Lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11 attack say that their medical problems have largely been overlooked as officials focus increasing attention on the responders who were more exposed to the hazards.

“Not to take anything from them, but everything has been concentrated on the fire, police and E.M.T. guys,” said Agustin Chaves, who lives and works in an apartment building two blocks from the World Trade Center site. “Nobody has been helping regular working people.”

Mr. Chaves, 53, developed asthma and severe acid reflux about a year and a half after Sept. 11, 2001. As his condition worsened, he tried to find out whether it was connected to the dust he had breathed in after the twin towers collapsed. Then last fall he heard that the city was giving millions of dollars to Bellevue Hospital Center to treat people excluded from other programs, like the one that monitors and treats recovery workers at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Since that announcement in September, the number of people being treated at the W.T.C. Environmental Health Center at Bellevue Hospital has doubled to more than 900. Several hundred more people are on a waiting list, including many low-income residents of Chinatown and the Lower East Side, and immigrant workers without health insurance. And after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg last week encouraged residents who might have been exposed to the dust to be checked by the clinic’s specialists, the number of patients is expected to rise substantially.

Dr. Joan Reibman, a pulmonologist who directs the center, said that most of her patients had not been exposed to the dust as intensively as firefighters and workers who toiled on the debris pile, but that they might have been affected by the contaminated air nonetheless.

Doctors and scientists have not definitively linked the dust to serious illnesses like cancer. But certain symptoms of respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments have been strongly associated with exposure to the dust. Thousands of firefighters developed gastrointestinal problems and what has become known as World Trade Center cough; the seriousness of their symptoms was found to be related to how soon they arrived at ground zero after the towers collapsed. Medical studies have also shown that they suffered substantial losses in lung capacity after working at the site.

Testing done by the Fire Department is considered especially important because all firefighters undergo thorough physical examinations every year, making it possible to track with a degree of medical certainty illnesses that developed after 9/11.

Most other studies about exposure to trade center dust — for example, the World Trade Center Health Registry of 71,000 workers, residents and volunteers — have been based on people’s own reporting of when an ailment began, and thus were less reliable indicators of a link between the dust and disease.

However, in the past year, both the federal and city governments have expanded monitoring and treatment programs for recovery workers and others, based on the premise that there is some association between the dust and those respiratory ailments.

An overwhelming majority of residents in Lower Manhattan have not developed any illnesses because of the dust, Dr. Reibman said. But whether some patients who have come in complaining of symptoms actually were reacting to the dust may be determined by looking at the extent of the dust exposure and the person’s medical history.

While ground zero recovery operations ended in June 2002, dust could have remained in interior spaces and duct work in nearby office and apartment buildings far longer. In many buildings that were never thoroughly cleaned, that dust may still be present.

Dr. Reibman said it was possible that some clinic patients believed that their symptoms were associated with the dust even though there may not be a connection. As a doctor in a public hospital, she said that did not matter to her as long as those who were sick could be cared for.

But she said many of her patients do have “asthma-like symptoms that we’re treating. And a small number have more complex diseases. Where you fall in that spectrum depends on exposure and susceptibility.”

Most patients are treated with medication, though a few who develop more serious illnesses are hospitalized at Bellevue whether or not a specific link to trade center dust can be proved.

The half-dozen examining rooms at the clinic have been serving a constant stream of patients since Mr. Bloomberg pledged $16 million over five years for the clinic to treat anyone who needs it without charge. Dr. Reibman has so far adopted a policy that accepts nearly everyone.

Many people, like Mr. Chaves, arrive at the clinic with worry in their eyes and asthma inhalers in their pockets. He is the resident superintendent of a condominium complex on Greenwich Street. When his building was engulfed by dust on Sept. 11, he was standing guard in the lobby and was covered in a layer of fine particles.

About 18 months later, Mr. Chaves started having trouble breathing and began to think that his symptoms were connected to the trade center dust. His family doctor could not pinpoint what was wrong even as his condition worsened. He was once athletic and agile, he said, a basketball-court terror his sons could not catch.

“Now I can barely run around with the grandchildren,” he said.

All the apartments in his building were professionally cleaned several years ago. But he finds the dust — a toxic mixture of chemicals and concrete that scientists say can be as caustic as drain cleaner — when he has to work in spaces above ceiling tiles.

Most alarming, he said, is finding the fluffy, gray dust when he or his men are called to remove a balky air conditioner from its slot in the building wall.

“We pull it out of the wall,” Mr. Chaves said, “and all the dust is still in there.”

The Bellevue clinic, which he visits every few weeks, has its roots in an asthma clinic that Dr. Reibman started in 1991 to investigate why the city had some of the highest rates of the disease in the country.

In 2002, she collaborated with the State Department of Health on a survey of residents who lived within a mile of ground zero. The study, one of only a few to deal with the effect on residents, found that about 60 percent of the 2,812 residents who responded complained of coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath that began after the terror attack.

The study has limitations. Those who responded to the survey were not given physical examinations, nor were their medical records checked for pre-existing health problems. Their responses were based on their own estimations of when their symptoms began.

In the same 2002 study, in a control group of residents about five miles from ground zero, 20 percent reported similar symptoms, again based solely on their own recollections.

Dr. Reibman’s asthma clinic became part of the city’s overall public health response in the months after 9/11. But it played a relatively small role until Mr. Bloomberg sharply increased funding in response to community pressure and emerging medical issues among recovery workers and others.

This month Manuel S. Bruno, 82, had his first examination at the clinic after reading news articles that said firefighters and police officers were developing serious, and sometimes fatal, illnesses.

Mr. Bruno said that shortly after he and his wife cleaned ground zero dust from their apartment on the Lower East Side, he developed an eye infection and an unusual rash. He said his regular doctors dismissed any possible link to the dust, attributing the symptoms to his age. Now he said he is willing to undergo specialized tests that the clinic’s doctors ordered because, whether they find a link to ground zero dust or not, “at least maybe they can help me.”

Another recent patient, Miguel Lopez, 40, said he had felt awful since he worked several months for a company that cleaned the dust from office buildings in Lower Manhattan. Without health insurance, he struggled for years to find someone to treat his severe rash and muscle ache before he heard about the specialists at the Bellevue clinic in October.

Mr. Lopez said he wanted to return to Ecuador, his native country, but was afraid to do so until he knew more about his medical condition.

“If something happens in 5 to 10 years,” he said, “I don’t want to be in Ecuador.”

Dr. Reibman recently added psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to the clinic staff because so many of her patients also have stress-related symptoms, stemming in part from their concerns about medical problems that could develop.

She said she was so overwhelmed with new patients that she had not had the time or staff to conduct a follow-up to her 2002 residential survey. And she is likely to get even busier. Mr. Bloomberg, in describing the city’s comprehensive plan for dealing with 9/11 health problems last week, said that the Bellevue clinic might need to care for as many as 12,000 patients.

Dr. Reibman said she did not know the extent of the health problems among Lower Manhattan residents, or how much money would be needed for treatment. But she shares data with the Mount Sinai program and the Fire Department and hopes to reach conclusions about 9/11-related symptoms and treatment.

Meanwhile, officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency have said that trade center dust poses little continuing danger to residents. Still, in December, the agency offered to test and clean apartments in Lower Manhattan. (To register, residents and building owners can call 1-888-747-7725.)

In 2004, residents, workers and students in Lower Manhattan filed a federal class action lawsuit against the E.P.A., its former administrator, Christie Whitman, and other federal officials, seeking a more thorough cleanup and an aggressive screening and treatment program.

The suit, which does not ask for individual monetary awards, claims that Ms. Whitman deliberately distorted information and put families at risk by encouraging them to return to apartments, schools and places of business before comprehensive tests of the air quality were available.

Last year, Judge Deborah A. Batts of Federal District Court in Manhattan said that Ms. Whitman’s statements that the air downtown was safe to breathe were misleading and “conscience-shocking.” She allowed portions of the suit against Ms. Whitman and the agency to go forward.

03-01-2007, 11:06 AM
That's a bad way to treat WTC ills


Thursday, March 1st, 2007

WASHINGTON - The White House is considering paying individual doctors to treat patients suffering from 9/11-related illnesses - rather than backing three hospital-based programs, a city official said yesterday.

Dr. David Prezant, the chief FDNY medical officer, said the Bush administration was leaning toward the so-called fee-for-service model after meeting yesterday with city officials.

"There would be no outreach to get people into treatment. There would be fragmented treatment by nonexperts, and there would be no data collection for policy or to inform other physicians how to treat these people," Prezant said.

"This is not where you want to be for people who gave up their health to help America rebuild on those days."

City officials met with Assistant Health Secretary John Agwunobi before a House subcommittee hearing on how the federal government should handle 9/11-related illnesses.

Agwunobi was grilled by congressmen yesterday about why he has yet to complete a report describing how the federal government can best provide care.

In an interview, Agwunobi wouldn't identify the data his task force was considering beyond studies published by various monitoring and treatment programs. He said the report would be ready this month.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) said she is concerned that the White House will not fund the monitoring programs established by the FDNY, Mount Sinai Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital for "ideological reasons." Mayor Bloomberg has said the three programs require $150 million a year in federal aid to stay afloat.

The criteria and payment structure of the potential federal-funding program were not clear yesterday. But government sources said it could be an "individual entitlement model" that would pay doctors as responders visited them. Prezant said the federal plan could require patients to lay out hefty co-payments.

Department of Health and Human Services officials didn't respond to requests for comment.

03-06-2007, 10:04 AM
9/11 clinic expanding



Bellevue Hospital is drastically expanding its clinic for patients suffering from World Trade Center-related illnesses.

The hospital received $16 million in city money to fund the expansion in September.

"We have doubled capacity," said Alan Aviles, president of the city's Health and Hospitals Corp.

"By the middle of the summer, they will have ramped everything up," Aviles said.

The World Trade Center Environmental Health Center is treating 1,000 people suffering from ailments believed associated with the noxious cloud that engulfed lower Manhattan after the 2001 attacks.

But doctors say they plan to have 6,000 people under care "within the next several years."

There is a waiting list to get treatment at the clinic, which primarily helps downtown residents, office workers and people who assisted in the cleanup efforts at Ground Zero.

Open for 11/2 years, the clinic initially survived mainly on Red Cross donations.

Since receiving city funding, Bellevue has doubled the square footage - 12,000 - allotted to the center and hired additional doctors and support staff.

Despite the expansion, one of the clinic's patients said the city's $16 million is "not enough."

"I don't think it will be an ongoing program if we don't get more," said Esther Regelson, a 47-year-old downtown resident who said the 9/11 attacks aggravated her asthma condition. "These are ailments that aren't cured overnight."

03-08-2007, 09:52 AM
CBS 2 Exclusive: 9/11 Claims Another Hero
City Transit Worker Dies From Rare Blood Cancer


Lou Young

(CBS) NEW YORK There are new worries about the health of workers at ground zero following the death of a city transportation worker assigned to the site.

Patricia Rooney says toxic dust killed her husband, Phillip. She is still coming to grips with what she lost.

She buried her husband of 12 years on Monday, a city transportation worker who was 35 when assigned to work at ground zero, 38 when the blood cancer started to waste him and 41 when he died. She has no doubt it was the toxic dust and smoke of 9/11 that took Phillip before his time.

"He was fine until he went down there, a totally healthy man," Patricia said. "Prior to 9/11 he didn't have a job where he was associated with these high risks that are associated with leukemia like the benzene and all the toxins. His job was not like that. He had no job like that. There was nothing in his life to indicate for him to get cancer or the type of leukemia he got."

There's no way to be certain what caused the cancer, but in a man Philip's age we're told it is rare, perhaps 1 in 150,000. Among the ground zero responders, however, the disease seems to be much more common.

"We just did a fundraiser for a man dying of the same leukemia," first responder advocate John Teal said. "Unless you are a fan of mass murder or genocide, you gotta stop the bleeding now. These guys need help. They need help now."

Phillip left behind three children, a son and 2 daughters. Patricia said they deserve the same benefits police officers and firefighters received in similar circumstances.

"My husband was a city employee and they are denying him a three-quarter pension and we deserve it. He deserved it and now he's gone and his three children deserve it."

The city's position is because Phillips never had the kind of pre-employment health screening that police officers and firefighters have there's no way to prove he wasn't already sick when they sent to him to ground zero. The Bush Administration has pledged $25 million for health care for ground zero workers, but that comes a little late for Phillip Rooney.

03-08-2007, 12:07 PM
N.Y. lawmakers press the feds on aid for 9/11 first responders


By Sally Goldenberg
Staten Island Advance (NY)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Health care for first responders sickened by their work at Ground Zero is an issue that has inflamed New Yorkers, and lawmakers are once again demanding answers from the federal government.

They want to know how much money will be forthcoming for the medical monitoring and treatment programs run by FDNY and Manhattan-based Mount Sinai, and when those programs will get more federal dollars.

In an argument that has evolved into a New York City-vs.-Washington, D.C., battle, members of the New York congressional delegation said yesterday that a federal Department of Health and Human Services' task force missed its self-imposed deadline of releasing its latest report by the end of February.

The department said there was no such deadline.

"We need a plan of action to monitor and treat all those who are sick or injured as a result of the terror attacks. We need a plan of action to ensure that those who need medical monitoring and care have access to it," said Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn).

At least 2,383 Staten Islanders have enrolled in the FDNY monitoring and treatment program and 2,079 have requested screening and monitoring through the Mount Sinai program.

Fossella signed onto a letter yesterday to Dr. John Agwunobi, who coordinates Sept. 11 health response for the federal department. Dr. Agwunobi appeared last week before a House Budget Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee but failed to deliver the specifics many lawmakers were seeking.

The letter from a host of politicians demands more funds, more information from the health department and a "comprehensive plan to medically monitor all those exposed to the toxins of Ground Zero and treat those who became sick as a result."

A spokesman Health and Human Services, Holly Babin, said the task force will present Dr. Agwunobi by month's end with "an analysis of data to help him shape federal policy related to World Trade Center-associated health conditions."

The lawmakers also took issue with news that emerged during the subcommittee hearing that the task force's recommendations will not be made public.

To date, the federal government has provided at least $252 million in four infusions for first responders who are suffering from lung, gastrointestinal and mental illnesses, which many blame on their work at Ground Zero immediately after the terror attacks.

03-17-2007, 09:31 AM
Important deadline for 9/11 1st responders



State Senator Martin J. Golden is reminding all those who aided in the rescue, recovery or cleanup efforts of the World Trade Center ruins to register by August 14 with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. By registering, 9/11 responder will preserve the right to file a workers’ compensation claim in case of sickness in the future.

Without a second thought, tens of thousands of people rushed to help after the terrorist attacks. Thousands of others worked at the site in the year after 9/11, and now, five years later, many of those responders are becoming sick and some are dying. Under New York State’s Workers’ Compensation Law, most workers would be barred from filing a claim, two years after an injury.

However, New York State legislators, including Golden, adopted legislation to extend the deadline for filing a claim before August 14.

Golden stated, “Extending the deadline for filing claims for those brave men and women, for the heroes of New York and for America, who responded to Ground Zero and who helped New York City rise to its feet again, was the right thing to do. We must insure that for all of those people who have, or may become, ill due to the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero, are allowed the opportunity to file their claim. I encourage all to take the necessary steps to file this claim by August 14, 2007 and not miss this opportunity to obtain benefits.”

Golden is encouraging claims to be filed by anyone who worked or volunteered:

· Anywhere in Manhattan south of Canal or Pike Streets;

· On the barge operation between Lower Manhattan & Staten Island;

· At the Staten Island landfill, or

· At the New York City morgue

Information on this important program and the necessary forms are available at www.nycosh.org.

Residents can call the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health hotline at 1-866-WTC-2556 to find out about the new law and eligibility requirements.

03-17-2007, 09:34 AM
Speaker discusses efforts to treat 9/11 workers


By Robert Miller

When the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, the air went black as a cloud of toxic dust and smoke mushroomed out and enveloped lower Manhattan.

Instead of running away, firefighters, police officers and emergency workers ran into it, toward the center of the devastation.

On that day, and for weeks after, thousands of people labored in "the Pit" -- the site where the towers stood. The fires beneath the rubble burned for weeks.

Because wearing a mask-like respirator meant losing some peripheral vision, many workers simply chose to do without one.

Today the lungs of those workers are paying the price.

"Our feeling was that air you can see, air that turns day into night, probably isn't healthy to breathe," said Dr. Robin Herbert, an assistant professor of community and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and director of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring program at the hospital.

Chosen as Woman of the Year at the 2006 Women's World Awards for her work with 9/11 workers, Herbert spoke Thursday at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury at a lecture to honor Women's Month. The university's School of Arts and Sciences sponsored her talk in collaboration with its Science at Night Program.

Herbert spoke Thursday of seeing rescue workers whose nasal passages were bright red -- "as if they'd suffered chemical burns, which in fact they had."

She also spoke of how 20,000 people have enrolled in the program, with more showing up every year. And she talked about the need for health officials to study others touched by the attack, including families who lived in apartments near the trade center.

"They may have never had their carpets cleaned properly and they've had children crawling around on those carpets," she said. "The issue of the effects on children has been greatly overlooked."

Herbert said there is no good count of how many people worked in the Pit -- whether for one day or six months -- just as there isn't an accurate estimate of how many people were actually in Manhattan on the morning of 9/11.

But Herbert said the number of people exposed to the Pit's fumes probably number 150,000 to 200,000.

Herbert said the rescue and recovery workers were a diverse group: firefighters, New York City police officers, ironworkers, electricians, transit workers, sanitation workers, custodial and maintenance workers.

Astonishingly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared the air at the World Trade Center site safe to breathe a week after the attack.

"Many of us found that hard to believe," Herbert said. Unfortunately, she said, others did believe it and began walking around the site without protecting their lungs.

"I can't run. I really can't do any heavy work,'' said Brian Shea, a retired New York City firefighter who now lives in New Milford. His asthma went from hardly noticeable to severe after his long hours of rescue work.

"I don't know what my asthma would be like without medication. I have to take medication every day," he said.

Within two days of the attack, doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City began to draw up plans to offer health screening to workers involved in the rescue and recovery work at the World Trade Center.

At WestConn, Herbert cataloged the different things people breathed at the site: about 26,400 gallons of burning jet fuel, a million tons of pulverized building materials, tons of glass dust and thousands of crushed computers.

The gypsum dust from the powdered concrete was like breathing Drano, she said. There were asbestos, PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals and many other chemicals in the mix.

Herbert said when she first started examining patients, she was shocked at how inflamed their nasal passages were.

"I started asking my colleagues if that was what they were seeing and they all said, 'Yes!'" Herbert said. "You could go into a waiting room and immediately tell which people had been at the World Trade Center site. They all had this dry cough."

Herbert said it's now clear that some of the short-term damage caused by breathing 9/11 air isn't going away. About 70 percent of the people examined at Mount Sinai complained of chronic health problems -- inflamed sinuses, asthma, autoimmune disorders and acid reflux.

They suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some suffered physical injuries to their limbs and backs that left them in constant pain.

Herbert said the Mount Sinai study is now looking at an increase in cancers. Some -- like leukemia and lymphoma -- can develop quickly after a environmental jolt. Others, like lung cancer, develop more slowly.

Shea of New Milford -- who suffers from debilitating asthma, acid reflux and anxiety -- is enrolled in a similar study run by the Fire Department of New York, in conjunction with the work at Mount Sinai.

"What I'd like to see now is for everyone in the study to get a complete body CAT scan, just to establish a baseline," Shea said. "Then do another five years from now and see if there are any changes."

Herbert said there is a definite need to continue and extend these studies. There is also a moral obligation to do so.

"These people were heroes," she said. "They rushed in without regard to their own health. As a nation, we owe it to them to give them medical care for the rest of their lives.

"After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the civilian personnel on the base who helped after the attack got the same care as the combat forces. We should do the same now."

03-18-2007, 09:38 AM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/03182007/news/regionalnews/mike_kills_sensitive_9_11_probe_regionalnews_susan _edelman.htm


March 18, 2007 -- Mayor Bloomberg killed a study on the city's response to the 9/11 attacks after his lawyers said they did not want a report that cited any missteps or dealt with "environmental" or "respirator issues," says a former city official.

City lawyers raised fears that the proposed "after-action report" - which the U.S. Department of Justice had offered to fund - could lead to criticism and fuel lawsuits, David Longshore, former director of special programs for the city's Office of Emergency Management, told The Post.

"The Bloomberg administration acted to sweep any potential problems under the rug," said Longshore, who was trapped in a loading dock outside the WTC while both towers collapsed. He later developed sinusitis and throat polyps and sued the city.

Longshore, who left his city job last year, showed The Post his work notes on internal OEM discussions with city lawyers in February 2003. His notes say the Law Department "doesn't want a critical report" and "does not want a report that says we did anything wrong."

03-20-2007, 08:52 AM
Mayor Lobbies Congress To Help Treat 9/11 Illnesses


By Staff Reporter of the Sun
March 20, 2007

Mayor Bloomberg circulated a report among Congress yesterday calling for lawmakers to fund treatment for World Trade Center-related illnesses and to open a victim compensation fund.

The report, which the mayor's administration released last month, was delivered to members of Congress two days before he is scheduled to testify in Washington before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Mr. Bloomberg was invited by Senator Clinton to make the appearance.

The mayor's 83-page report calls on the federal government to defray $150 million in medical programs annually and to create a $1 billion compensation fund.

"Thousands of Americans sacrificed so much to help our City through its darkest hour, and to help America recover from the deadliest attack on American soil," Mr. Bloomberg wrote in a letter that accompanied the report. "We owe these Americans a commitment."

Mr. Bloomberg's scheduled appearance tomorrow comes about three weeks after two of his two aides testified before a House committee on the same issue.

03-21-2007, 08:54 AM
Line-of-Duty Death Benefits for Officer’s Work After 9/11


Published: March 21, 2007

The New York City Police Pension Fund has approved line-of-duty death benefits for the family of Cesar A. Borja, the police officer whose death in January became a symbol of the plight of those who worked in Lower Manhattan after 9/11.

The fund’s board unanimously approved the benefits on March 14. The decision, which was expected, did not resolve the question of what caused the chronic lung ailment that killed Officer Borja and what role his work in Lower Manhattan might have had in the development of the disease.

Under a state law signed by Gov. George E. Pataki in June 2005, public employees who took part in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery or cleanup efforts are presumed, if they became permanently disabled because of certain medical conditions, to have gotten sick in connection with the disaster.

The law applies to those who worked at least 40 hours between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 12, 2002, at the World Trade Center site, the city morgue, the Fresh Kills landfill or on the barges that ran between Manhattan and the landfill. The conditions covered include respiratory, gastroesophageal, psychological and skin illnesses, as well as late-onset diseases like cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and musculoskeletal disorders.

In August 2006, Mr. Pataki signed a second law that extended line-of-duty death benefits to the survivors of public workers who were covered under the first law and later died from their diseases.

Both laws were approved by the State Legislature and signed by Mr. Pataki over the objections of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who argued that Albany was saddling the city with obligations without providing money to meet them. The city estimates that the first bill will cost the city $53 million a year, and the second bill $10 million a year.

Mr. Bloomberg has lately become more supportive of efforts to provide more aid for workers and residents who say they have become ill from exposure to the dust at ground zero. Today, the mayor is scheduled to testify in Washington before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions about the long-term health effects of the 9/11 attack.

On Feb. 13, a panel appointed by the mayor urged the federal government to sharply increase 9/11 health spending and recommended the creation of a special fund to compensate those who became sick.

Nonetheless, the report stated that the two state laws “do not rely on medical research.” The report said that in some cases, the Police Department’s medical staff and the Police Pension Fund may reach opposing conclusions about whether an injury occurred in the line of duty.

Officer Borja’s case embodies some of the continuing controversy over 9/11 health issues.

It was widely reported that Officer Borja, who died at age 52, rushed to ground zero after the twin towers fell. On the evening he died, Jan. 23, his son, Ceasar, attended the State of the Union address to draw attention to the plight of 9/11 workers.

In an article last month, The New York Times reported that Officer Borja, who was assigned to a tow pound in Queens, did not rush to the disaster site and in fact did not work a formal shift in the area until December 2001, after much of the site had been cleared and the fire in the remaining pile had been declared extinguished.

Officer Borja’s memo book showed him working in Lower Manhattan for 17 days over several months after 9/11. But experts say that depending on factors like genetics, his illness, diagnosed as pulmonary fibrosis, can conceivably be caused by modest exposure to certain toxic substances.

According to city records, Officer Borja retired in June 2003 after 20 years of service to the city. Before his death, he received a regular retirement pension of about $34,000 a year, or roughly half his final salary.

After becoming sick, Officer Borja applied in April 2006 for an accidental disability pension under the 2005 law. The application had not yet been acted on when he died.

The Police Pension Fund has yet to calculate the precise amount of the death benefits, but it will most likely be $69,000 to $74,000 a year, officials said.

A woman who answered the telephone at the Borja residence yesterday declined to comment on the pension decision.

03-26-2007, 08:27 AM
New Yorkers get special 9/11 clinic


By Matt Wells
BBC News, New York

More than five years after the attacks on the World Trade Center, thousands of New York's downtown residents are convinced that toxic residues still lurking inside their homes are damaging their health.

And it seems that the city's politicians and health authorities are taking their concerns seriously.

A new health clinic to diagnose and treat those people who live and work around Ground Zero has just opened with more than $17m funding from the city and from private charities.

Native Welshman-turned-New Yorker Craig Hall is president of the World Trade Center Residents' Coalition. "Things will get worse as the years go on - that's our worry," he says, while handing out health-survey leaflets in the lobby of one downtown residential block.

Many of the "first-responders" to the 9/11 attacks - firefighters, medics and police, together with volunteers who sorted through the debris - have suffered from well-publicised respiratory problems. Their medical treatment and assessment has been on-going for several years now.

But Mr Hall believes that ordinary citizens are still at risk and that the legacy of the destruction of the towers is far more active and pernicious than previously thought.

Dust reservoirs
"We lived and worked down here, and the buildings have still not been cleaned properly... We believe there are still dust reservoirs inside the air-conditioning units," Mr Hall says.

"There's all the pulverised glass-fibre, the concrete dust, and when all this stuff's mixed in with the PCBs, the heavy-metals, the mercury, the lead - it's a really toxic soup."

Mr Hall has been diagnosed with lung damage, and he maintains that there are too many others who share common symptoms - such as so-called "World Trade Center cough", shortness of breath, and chronic digestion problems - for it to be put down to stress or psychosomatic factors.

Downtown residents' groups are still hoping for millions more in federal funding from Washington, but New York and its mayor, Michael Bloomberg, have already responded to their concerns.

The state-of-the-art WTC Environmental Health Center has just opened on the second floor of the vast Bellevue Hospital, just above the downtown area, on First Avenue.

Symptoms 'real'
The small team of medical specialists grew out of an asthma clinic, and it now includes a number of psychologists. The unit is headed by Dr Joan Reibman, who is convinced that the symptoms are real and medically related.

"We've not seen abuse of this programme," she said, answering the question of whether some residents were just using the free services of the clinic to treat issues that had nothing to do with 11 September.

In fact, she believes that there has been reluctance on the part of many, to come forward and accept that 9/11 may be making them ill.

"Because people have been so appreciative of the work of the responders - people were embarrassed to say that we honour these people but we also have some symptoms as well," she said.

Risk 'exaggerated'
But not all New Yorkers are convinced that funding potentially limitless health care for those living near Ground Zero, is a fair strategy. There are some limited-government advocates who believe tougher questions need to be asked.

"Just as the media and politicians should take care not to heighten terrorism's impact by exaggerating the risk it poses to the public, so, too, should we be cautious about making an already-nervous population think they have been 'poisoned'," writes Todd Seavey, on the subject of a workers' health study published last September.

But at the new clinic treating the residents, Dr Reibman is diplomatic on the question of the continuing threat posed by potential toxic residue.

"Unfortunately, there was no real, consistent clean-up of Lower-Manhattan, and we don't really know what was in the buildings... and what remains in the buildings. Certainly, it remains an issue with other agencies."

03-31-2007, 08:21 PM
Hillary plots 9/11 attack on Rudy


Tony Allen-Mills, New York

The first face-to-face confrontation of the 2008 presidential race is looming over a US Senate inquiry into health problems suffered by workers at New York’s ground zero after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

As the chairwoman of a Senate subcommittee investigating complaints that workers were misled about air quality after the collapse of the twin towers, Senator Hillary Clinton, the Democrat front-runner for the presidential nomination, confirmed last week that she is considering calling Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and the leading Republican contender, to testify at a public hearing.

The health committee’s inquiry has presented Clinton with an intriguing political choice with potentially volatile repercussions for the presidential race. By calling Giuliani as a witness, she could place him in the awkward position of having to submit to her senatorial authority and face a grilling that might dent the heroic image he acquired for his response to the 9/11 attacks.

At the same time Democratic aides have acknowledged that Clinton might risk being accused of playing politics with a tragedy. Giuliani said last week that he was happy to testify “to anybody who has a fair mind about it” and is “approaching it from a nonpolitical point of view”.
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Clinton said last week she was still “looking at all the people available to testify”. But other prominent New York Democrats have demanded Giuliani should answer questions about whether he could have done more as mayor to protect the workers who spent weeks digging in dust and dirt that is now considered to have been dangerously toxic.

“Who made decisions, if any, that resulted unnecessarily in a lot of people getting sick?” asked Congressman Jerrold Nadler, whose district includes the World Trade Center site.

The Senate inquiry follows claims by at least 9,000 New Yorkers that they are suffering from lung and stomach ailments they blame on the toxic rubble at ground zero. Their cause attracted national attention in January when Clinton invited the son of Cesar Borja, a stricken New York policeman, to attend President George W Bush’s state of the union address as her guest. Borja was waiting for a lung transplant but died of respiratory failure a few hours before Bush spoke.

Despite subsequent revelations that Borja may not have spent long periods working at ground zero, the health inquiry has become a potential embarrassment for Giuliani, who is increasingly being forced to defend the actions that made him a national icon. He was dubbed “America’s mayor” by Oprah Winfrey, the talk show host.

Last month Giuliani was fiercely criticised by a firemen’s union that has never forgiven him for halting the search for bodies. The mayor was anxious at the time that clean-up operations should begin, but more than five years later body parts are still being found around ground zero.

He has also been criticised for failing to provide the New York Fire Department with more modern communications equipment, which was requested after the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

Sally Regenhard, whose son was one of the 343 firefighters killed in the attacks, said last week she had no problem if Giuliani ran for president on his record of reducing New York crime, “but when he runs on 9/11, I want the American people to know he was part of the problem”.

Clinton has been swift to exploit her rival’s difficulties. She earned three standing ovations at a firemen’s convention in Washington this month and promised that, as president, she would “take care of the people who have taken care of us”.

Yet she has also been careful to avoid direct criticism of Giuliani, and several analysts have warned that a face-to-face challenge on his 9/11 record would be risky. “It’s not smart strategy. It’s too early,” Douglas Muzzio, a political science professor at Baruch College, told the New York Sun. Instead she should “take the high road”.

Behind the fencing over health issues lies mounting pressure on both Clinton and Giuliani camps to maintain the healthy opinion poll leads that each has staked out in the race for their respective party nominations. In a Gallup poll published last week by USA Today, Giuliani’s lead over Senator John McCain of Arizona had shrunk from 24 points at the beginning of March to nine points three weeks later.

The former mayor also faces a possible challenge from former senator Fred Thompson, a Hollywood actor turned conservative politician who shot from nil to 12 points in the same poll, simply by announcing that he was considering entering the race.

In the Gallup poll, Clinton’s lead over Senator Barack Obama, who is seeking to become the first African-American president, narrowed slightly from 14 points to 13 points.

On Thursday a new Time magazine poll gave Clinton only an eight point lead over Obama, with former senator John Edwards apparently benefiting from a major sympathy boost after the announcement that his wife’s cancer has become incurable. Edwards jumped nine points to 26 points, only four behind Obama.

If Clinton decides to call Giuliani as a witness, her health inquiry may turn into an intriguing preview of next year’s presidential debates. But the ex-mayor warned the senator last week that he expected any testimony about health issues at ground zero to be “above politics”, and he also reminded her he was a possible victim himself.

“I was probably there as often as anybody, as you know,” he said. “So any exposure to anything bad that anyone else has, I personally had.”

04-04-2007, 01:10 PM
New Maloney Bill To Help 9/11 Responders



The first legislation that provides both health care and compensation to individuals who were sick or injured as a result of the 9/11 attacks was introduced last week by Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney and Vito Fossella, who have been in the forefront of the effort to take care of Ground Zero first responders.

At the same time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg appealed to a U.S. Senate committee to reopen the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for ailing Ground Zero responders and to provide the $150 million needed annually to continue to treat them.

The mayor urged panel members to support a bill introduced by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D- New York) that would provide grants for 9/11-related health care.

Bloomberg stated: "Congress cannot turn its back on those who responded with courage and suffered through this terrible catastrophe."

The Maloney- Fossella bipartisan bill would extend long-term medical monitoring to everyone exposed to Ground Zero toxins and provide federally funded health care to anyone who has become sick as a result.

Additionally, the legislation would reopen the federal victim Compensation Fund. (VCF), for which the mayor appealed at the Senate committee hearing.

Maloney said the VCF would take care of the sick 9/11 responders and Lower Manhattan residents.

Original co-sponsors of the Maloney- Fossella bill included Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D- Queens/The Bronx). The measure is named after James Zadroga, a New York Police Department homicide detective and 9/11 responder who died as a result of exposures to toxins at Ground Zero.

Maloney declared that the Zadroga Act would "provide both medical care and compensation for sick and injured responders, residents, workers and students".

The legislation, she said, also "ensures long-term, direct funding for the highly successful Centers of Excellence at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Bellevue Hospital and the FDNY".

"Thousands of Americans are suffering as a direct result of 9/11," Maloney added. "Our bill provides medical monitoring for everyone exposed to Ground Zero toxins, treatment for anyone who's sick, and compensation for anyone who sustained economic losses due to illness or injury."

Fossella said, "This bill goes further by directing the National Institutes of Health to conduct research so that doctors can more effectively diagnose and treat the unique health issues related to 9/11."

04-07-2007, 09:36 AM
9/11 responders urged to register for health funds
N.Y. has set a deadline of Aug. 14 for workers to file for compensation.

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/pa/20070407_9_11_responders_urged_to_register_for_hea lth_funds.html

By Jane M. Von Bergen
Inquirer Staff Writer

For three days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Matt Quigley, driven by patriotism and an intense desire to help, stood in a bucket line on the hot remains of the World Trade Center, frantically removing debris, hoping to find someone alive.

The Gloucester County construction laborer had no respirator - despite the presence of dust and fumes that turned the noon sky black and blanketed everything in a pale-gray, asbestos-laden powder.

Quigley, now 43, would do it again, even though, he said this week, "I feel like my chest is always heavy. I've got a hard time breathing. My lungs are always filled. My doctor tells me I have the lungs of a 70-year-old man."

As public-health workers, labor activists, and lawyers in New York learn more about the health problems of workers who responded Sept. 11, 2001, they are frantically trying to reach beyond Manhattan's borders to people such as Quigley, who lives in Clayton.

More than 20,000 people, by some estimates, rushed toward Lower Manhattan after the attack to help, many coming from nearby states.

The New York State Workers' Compensation Board, which has funds to help cover health-care costs, has set a deadline of Aug. 14 for Sept. 11 workers to register.

That marks their place so they can file a claim for benefits - either now if they are already sick, or later if they develop an illness. Eligible workers include volunteers and out-of-state residents.

Separately, public-health specialists from the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program want to examine as many Sept. 11 workers as possible for health problems, including respiratory ailments such as asthma and severe sinusitis, as well as acid reflux and lingering psychological issues. Besides providing care, the program's aim is to gain understanding of medical trends and treatment needs over time.

On Thursday, PhilaPOSH, the labor-funded Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health, brought in experts on World Trade Center health problems for sparsely attended informational meetings at the Iron Workers Local 401 union hall in Northeast Philadelphia.

PhilaPOSH's sister organization, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), has been coordinating the major outreach effort in New York.

Among the speakers was former Northeast High School graduate Stephen Levin, medical director of the Mount Sinai Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine in New York, which has examined 16,000 Sept. 11 responders. Half of them have been diagnosed with illnesses.

Levin used photographs of the World Trade Center to illustrate the dust and fumes that workers breathed - images Quigley recalls vividly.

"We came across hands, legs, people buried under steel, and there was no color, no blood. If you found a hand, there would be no blood because the dust absorbed it all," said Quigley, who started as a Sept. 11 volunteer and later became a paid worker.

Levin said doctors often treated workers' respiratory problems as infections when, as it turned out, many were the result of chemical burns in their lungs.

When the towers collapsed, "it reduced everything to a finer size than is usually found in a demolition site," he said. The powder and glass fibers are what is now causing problems.

Some who helped after Sept. 11 were trained rescue workers. Construction companies such as J.S. Cornell & Son in Philadelphia dispatched ironworkers and riggers because they were experienced in moving heavy beams in precarious situations.

"I got a lot more shortness of breath" after working there, said Craig Collins, 47, of Gilbertsville, an ironworker sent by Cornell two days after the attack. He stayed to volunteer. "I just attributed it to getting older."

Ironworker James Weisser, 47, of Perkiomenville, also went up for Cornell, first as a worker, then as a volunteer. "Last year, I had a heart attack, and I have a little trouble breathing," he said.

Both men filled out claim forms at Thursday's event.

So did a Philadelphia firefighter who responded to Manhattan on Sept. 11. Now he has breathing problems and still feels traumatized. But he's afraid to admit to being sick, because he's worried about losing his job.

9/11 Health-Related Claims

What's the deadline to register? It is Aug. 14, under the New York State Workers' Compensation Law.

Who should register? Anyone who did rescue, recovery and cleanup work in Lower Manhattan, at the Staten Island landfill, on the landfill barges, and at the morgue from Sept. 11, 2001, to Sept. 12, 2002.

Can volunteers or undocumented workers file? Yes.

Do you have to be a resident of New York State? No.

What's the procedure? Call 1-866-WTC-2556 for a claim form for workers' compensation benefits.

What if you are healthy? Registering protects you if you develop a 9/11-related illness later.

For more information:

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health at 212-227-6440 or www.nycosh.org.

The World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program at 1-888-702-0630 or www.wtcexams.org. The closest facility is at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Piscataway at 732-445-0123. A Philadelphia-area clinic is expected to open this year.

Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health at 215-386-7000 or www.philaposh.org.

SOURCE: New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health

04-09-2007, 08:40 AM
$4.7 Million Raised to Treat Those Who Fell Ill After 9/11


Published: April 9, 2007

The 9/11 Neediest Medical Campaign to help those who developed serious illnesses after the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center has collected $300,000 since February for a total of nearly $4.7 million, fund officials announced.

Recent contributions or pledges to the campaign include $104,000 from the Star-Ledger Disaster Relief Fund of the Community Foundation of New Jersey; $100,000 from the Carnegie Corporation; and $112,000 from 205 individual donors.

The funds will be divided between Mount Sinai Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center for uninsured patients. A $100,000 grant will go to St. Vincent’s World Trade Center Healing Services for treatment of patients suffering major mental illnesses arising from 9/11.

In February, The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, the New York Community Trust, the Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Institute each contributed $1 million to a charity organized by the Neediest Cases Fund. The Altman Foundation also gave $250,000, the United Way of New York City $75,000, and Trinity Church $25,000.

The board of the Community Trust voted on Friday to divide its grant of $1 million between Bellevue and Beyond Ground Zero, a community service organization that works with Bellevue to help people affected by the 9/11 disaster.

Last year, the federal government provided $26 million to treat some, but not all, who fell ill after the attack. The money from the Neediest Medical Campaign will be available to doctors whose patients are not eligible for federal aid.

The city’s World Trade Center Health Panel in February estimated that screening and treatment of ailments associated with ground zero costs the nation $393 million annually.

04-16-2007, 09:07 AM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/04162007/news/regionalnews/9_11_is_still_taking_cops_breath_away_regionalnews _carl_campanile.htm


April 16, 2007 -- The environmental disaster caused by 9/11 hit New York's Finest especially hard, a shocking new health study shows.

The number of police responders who suffered from respiratory illnesses more than doubled a year and half after initial post-9/11 medical checkups, the survey said.

"Most of the lower-respiratory symptoms increased between one month and 19 months after 9/11," said the analysis of 471 officers, conducted by Penn State/Monmouth University medical researchers.

Some 44 percent reported shortness of breath 19 months later, up from 19 percent a month after the disaster.

Cops who reported coughing up phlegm shot up to 31 percent from 14 percent and those wheezing doubled to 26 percent from 13 percent by mid-2003, according to the study published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

About 43 percent of officers screened in October 2001 had what is called World Trade Center cough - and the same percentage reported hacking symptoms in 2003.

"We were surprised by the results. The delayed onset was unexpected. We were looking to see improvement over time," co-author Dr. Mark Tulchinsky told The Post.

Among the findings is that one-third of cops who didn't have WTC cough still reported shortness of breath.

It's the first study that solely tracked the health of police officers involved in Ground Zero efforts.

The findings mirror prior 9/11 health studies and show that many cops were sickened as severely as firefighters.

A medical analysis of firefighters last year found that FDNY rescuers who sucked in toxic air at Ground Zero lost the equivalent of 12 years of lung function. And a Mount Sinai study found 70 percent of rescue and cleanup workers reported worsening respiratory conditions between 2002 and 2004.

The study grouped police officers in three categories: heavy exposure for those who worked at Ground Zero during the massive cloud plume from the collapse of the buildings; moderate for those who worked downtown on Sept. 12 and thereafter; and light risk for those on duty in other boroughs on and after 9/11.

"Heavy exposure conferred a higher likelihood of developing all four early-onset respiratory symptoms compared with light exposure," the researchers said.

For instance, about half of cops in the heavy-exposure group had chronic cough, compared to 31 percent among the lightly exposed group by 2003.

And 46 percent of those in the high-exposure group suffered shortness of breath, compared to 32 percent in the low-risk group.

Meanwhile 29 percent of the heavy exposed cops were wheezing compared to just to 14 percent in the low-risk group.

But even in the light-risk group, the number with wheezing quadrupled over 19 months.

The reason why some cops got sick sooner and others later - and others not at all - remains a mystery and could be chalked up to the physical condition of each person as well as the severity of exposure, the report said.

"Even a slight exposure in a susceptible individual can produce significant symptoms, while a higher exposure may produce no symptoms in someone who is less susceptible," the study said.

The findings support the need for continuing monitoring and treatment of all WTC rescue and cleanup workers - not just those with early respiratory symptoms - researchers concluded.

04-17-2007, 09:29 AM



April 12, 2007 -- The city yesterday awarded full benefits to the daughter of Detective James Zadroga - whose death from lung disease contracted at Ground Zero led to a new law providing more generous benefits to families of responders struck by 9/11- related illness.

The police pension board voted unanimously to give 5-year-old Tyler Ann a 100 percent line of duty benefit until she's an adult. She also will receive health insurance.

Prior to the decision, she was receiving a 75 percent benefit and no health insurance.

A New Jersey coroner had concluded Zadroga's death was caused by breathing toxic dust from the collapsed World Trade Center towers in the first such medical finding for a Ground Zero responder.

Tyler Ann's mom has died from an unrelated illness and her grandparents now care for her.

The pension board acted after the Detectives Endowment Association helped convince the state Legislature to pass the "Zadroga Law" increasing survivor benefits.

Meanwhile, another victim of the attack has been identified, officials said yesterday.

She's Carol LaPlante, who was last seen on a security camera leaving a church before heading to her office at the Trade Center.

LaPlante, 59, worked for Marsh & McLennan - which occupied floors 93 through 100 of the north tower.

The Medical Examiner's Office has identified 1,607 of 2,749 victims from 9/11 so far and continues to retest remains as advances in DNA technology become available.

04-20-2007, 10:53 AM
Court Backs EPA Chief in 9/11 Toxins Case


Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 20, 2007

A federal appellate court has decided that it was not "conscience-shocking" for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to have reassured New Yorkers that the air near ground zero was safe following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, even if the air was toxic.

Yesterday's decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals throws out a lawsuit against a former leader of the EPA, Christine Whitman.

The panel of three judges reasoned that the government's interest in returning New York to normalcy following the attacks should protect it from lawsuits alleging that the government made false statements about air quality. The court did not make any factual finding as to the quality of the air, or as to whether the EPA had intentionally misled the public, which Ms. Whitman has denied doing.

"When great harm is likely to befall someone no matter what a government official does, the allocation of risk may be a burden on the conscience of the one who must make such decisions, but does not shock the contemporary conscience," the circuit's chief judge, Dennis Jacobs, wrote. "These principles apply notwithstanding the great service rendered by those who repaired New York, the heroism of those who entered the site when it was unstable and on fire, and the serious health consequences that are plausibly alleged."

Whether a government official's actions are "conscience-shocking" is a legal standard that decides whether an official is liable, in certain types of lawsuits.

"I always thought that if you accepted they were lies — lies to get these people working down there — that those lies were inherently conscience-shocking," the lawyer who brought the case, Stephen Riegel of Weitz and Luxemberg P.C., said.

The lawsuit was a class action on behalf of those who searched for survivors and cleaned up ground zero following the attacks. The men now suffer respiratory ailments, Mr. Riegel said.

A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.

The court's holding in this case suggests that it will also dismiss a similar suit brought on behalf of residents near to the World Trade Center. The ruling yesterday is unlikely to have a result on another class action on behalf of workers at ground zero, which was brought under a different legal theory, Mr. Riegel said.

The panel also included judges Reena Raggi and Robert Sack.

04-20-2007, 11:00 AM

04-20-2007, 12:13 PM

.... it sure is :badmood:

04-20-2007, 06:28 PM
Court Ruling May Stop 9/11 Air Quality Lawsuits



(CBS/AP) NEW YORK An appeals court ruling could spell trouble for New Yorkers suing the Environmental Protection Agency and its former chief for saying that sooty Lower Manhattan air was safe to breathe after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

A three judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared this week that EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and other agency officials can't be held constitutionally liable for making rosy declarations about air quality in the days following the World Trade Center's destruction.

The opinion, written by the court's chief judge, Dennis Jacobs, said opening EPA workers up to lawsuits for giving out bad information during a crisis could have a catastrophic side effect.

"Officials might default to silence in the face of the public's urgent need for information," Jacobs wrote.

The ruling, filed Thursday, applied only to a suit brought by five government employees who did rescue and cleanup work at ground zero, but it contained language suggesting that similar legal claims could face trouble.

It specifically mentioned a class action lawsuit brought by lower Manhattan residents who claim Whitman jeopardized their health by declaring that "the air is safe to breathe" at a time when, according to the EPA inspector general, a quarter of dust samples were recording unhealthy asbestos levels.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts, refused to dismiss that case, calling Whitman's statements "conscience-shocking."

That decision is now on appeal and has yet to be argued before the 2nd Circuit, but Jacobs indicated a reversal might be imminent, saying outright that the panel disagreed with Batts' reasoning.

Those developments brought a blunt assessment from attorney Stephen J. Riegel, who represented the national guardsman, deputy U.S. Marshal and three city emergency medical service workers who were the subject of Thursday's ruling.

"There is a prospect, essentially, that these people will get nothing through the court system," Riegel said.

Some preliminary scientific studies have indicated that as many as 400,000 people were exposed to toxic ground zero dust. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of people have fallen ill, and several have died from lung ailments blamed on inhaled Trade Center ash.

Thousands of people have sued various government entities over their exposure to the toxins.

Riegel said his own clients, who worked without respirators as the dust still swirled because they had heard EPA statements that the air was safe, had decided not to appeal.

More important decisions are pending: The 2nd Circuit recently announced it would hear a rare mid-case appeal of lawsuits against the City of New York, alleging it didn't do enough to protect rescue and cleanup workers from airborne dust.

Plaintiffs trying to hold government entities accountable for their injuries have some tough legal hurdles to overcome.

The law generally doesn't allow citizens to sue the government for mere incompetence, or failing to prevent someone from being injured; To win, plaintiffs must often prove that government employees actually created a danger themselves, through actions "so egregious, so outrageous," that they "shock the contemporary conscience."

Jacobs said Whitman and other EPA officials fell short of violating that standard, even if they had acted with deliberate indifference.
"A poor choice made by an executive official ... is not conscience shocking merely because for some persons it resulted in grave consequences that a correct decision could have avoided," he wrote.

"These principles apply," he added, "notwithstanding the great service rendered by those who repaired New York, the heroism of those who entered the site when it was unstable and on fire, and the serious health consequences that are plausibly alleged in the complaint."

An EPA spokesman did not immediately respond to a phone message Friday.

04-20-2007, 07:33 PM
Outrage! Ruling Stings 9/11 First Responders
Court Says Whitman Wasn't Wrong To Say Air Quality Safe


Marcia Kramer

(CBS) NEW YORK A major ruling could stop some ground zero workers and lower Manhattan residents suffering from 9/11-related illnesses from suing the city.

CBS 2 has learned the reasons why.

There was shock on Friday as city residents were stunned over a federal appeals court ruling that it was OK for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to have reassured New Yorkers after 9/11 that the air was safe -- even if it was toxic.

"I’m horrified, not only for the residents down there, but also for the workers who got the worst of it," one resident said. "We can't have a government that lies to us."

Added another New Yorker: "It certainly wasn’t OK. People need to be protected."

"That was unethical to do because it disarmed the people and had people believe they were safe from fallout," said another.

The Second U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Manhattan saw it differently:

"When great harm is likely to befall someone no matter what a government official does, the allocation of risk may be a burden on the conscience of the one who must make such decisions, but does not shock the contemporary conscience...”

The court's decision to throw out a suit brought against then-EPA head Christie Whitman, infuriated lawyer David Worby, who represents thousands of first responders and construction workers who are suing the city.

"There was 400,000 pounds of asbestos, 91,000 liters of burning jet fuels, 125,000 gallons of burning Con Ed transformer oils with PCBs in it, 500,000 units of mercury 200,000 pounds of led, among other things," Worby said. "Should she be let off the hook for saying that was safe? I don't think so."

The decision will have varying effects. Residents who sued Whitman may not have a leg to stand on, but ground zero workers who have charged labor law violations still have a case -- at least for now.

04-22-2007, 10:53 AM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/04222007/news/regionalnews/9_11_firefighter_lung_ailments_on_the_rise_regiona lnews_susan_edelman.htm


April 22, 2007 -- Twenty-six firefighters who toiled at Ground Zero came down with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory illness that often attacks the lungs, in the five years after 9/11 - a significant increase, a new study has found.

The study has angered the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which complains that the NYPD has refused to acknowledge that 9/11 caused sarcoidosis in cops.

Half the firefighter cases were diagnosed in the first year after 9/11 - a rate six times higher than the average for the Bravest in the 15 years before 9/11, according to a paper to be published in CHEST, a medical journal.

The results "strongly argue for improved respiratory protection" at future fires, disasters and toxic sites, says the report, whose authors include FDNY top doctors David Prezant and Kerry Kelly.

The PBA, which has its own registry of ailing WTC responders, counts 19 cops with sarcoidosis.

Unlike the FDNY, the NYPD has been reluctant to link the disease to 9/11.

The NYPD has also rejected some cops' medical bills for sarcoidosis.

"First they denied any connection between the WTC and sarcoidosis. Now that there's scientific evidence, they refuse to accept it," PBA president Patrick Lynch told The Post.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Commissioner Ray Kelly welcomed line-of-duty death benefits recently given the daughter of detective James Zadroga, 34, a 9/11 responder who died of respiratory illness.

"The department hasn't refused to acknowledge a link. The medical division is reviewing the cases," Browne said.

05-08-2007, 04:06 PM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/05082007/news/regionalnews/cancer_claims_9_11_cop_regionalnews_perry_chiaramo nte_and_murray_weiss.htm


May 8, 2007 -- A detective on Mayor Bloomberg's security detail died yesterday of cancer - an illness his family and union officials believe can be traced to his work in the toxic debris at Ground Zero after 9/11.

Detective Kevin Hawkins, 42, died at 2 a.m. at the hospice unit of Calvary Hospital in The Bronx, said Vic Cipulla, vice president of the Detectives Endowment Association.

He'd been diagnosed with kidney cancer in September.

Cipulla said Hawkins and his family had filed a claim that would seek verification that his illness was in the line of duty, making him eligible for a disability pension.

"Members have come down with various forms of cancer and there are many still to come," he said.

The claim was prompted by a law - passed in 2005 and named after Detective James Zadroga, who died of lung disease after his work at Ground Zero - that ensures public workers can get a disability pension if their illness is traced to the recovery effort.

Hawkins worked at Ground Zero for two months.

"Kevin brought a quiet reserve and a sense of duty to everything he did," a statement from Bloomberg said. "He fought this disease with the same integrity and strength that he displayed serving our country and our city."

Hawkins, who joined the department in 1987, also served two tours of duty in the Gulf War in 1990.

"He was a member of the United States Marine Corps who served his nation in war, as he did the Police Department, with pride and dedication," Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Hawkins is survived by his wife Marie, and three children.

05-08-2007, 07:29 PM
Study Links Lung Scarring Disease To Post 9/11 WTC Work


POSTED: 5:55 pm EDT May 8, 2007

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Rescue workers and firefighters contracted a serious lung-scarring disease called sarcoidosis at a much higher rate after the Sept. 11 attacks than before, said a study that is the first to link the disease to exposure to toxic dust at ground zero.

The study, published by nine doctors including the medical officer monitoring city firefighters, Dr. David Prezant, found that firefighters and rescue workers contracted sarcoidosis in the year after Sept. 11, 2001, at a rate five times higher than the years before the attacks.

Sarcoidosis, which can be life-threatening, causes an inflammation in the lungs that deposits tiny cells in the organs, leaving scar tissues that damage them. Some rescue workers and others who were exposed to the dust cloud that enveloped lower Manhattan after the World Trade Center collapsed say they contracted the disease from their work at ground zero.

The study compared the rates of contracting sarcoidosis among fire department employees for 15 years before Sept. 11 and for five years after it. It said firefighters who showed symptoms of the disease on chest X-rays underwent more intensive exams.

After the trade center attack, 26 firefighters were diagnosed with sarcoidosis, the study found. Thirteen were diagnosed in the first year after the attacks, which represents a rate of 86 per 100,000. In the 15 years before the attack, the rate of sarcoidosis was 15 per 100,0000, the study found.

None of the 26 rescue workers, who are in their 30s and 40s, has died of the disease, and about 10 have improved or recovered since their diagnoses, the study found. Two of the firefighters were former smokers, the study found.

Dr. Jacqueline Moline, who directs the largest monitoring program for ground zero workers, which has screened more than 20,000 people at Mount Sinai Medical Center, said several patients in her program have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis.

Mount Sinai plans to publish its own research in the next few months on the rate associated with ground zero work. Last fall, it published a study concluding that 70 percent of ground zero workers suffered from different respiratory illnesses after the attacks.

"We're all looking to see various diseases that might develop as a result of 9/11 exposure," Moline said. "We have to be vigilant."

The study was published this week in the May issue of CHEST Physician, a journal published by the American College of Chest Physicians.

05-10-2007, 07:51 AM
9/11 Rescuers At Risk for Sarcoidosis


By Neil Osterweil, Senior Associate Editor, MedPage Today
Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
May 09, 2007

NEW YORK, May 9 -- World Trade Center rescue workers exposed to airborne debris in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are at an increased risk for pulmonary sarcoidosis or a related disorder, investigators here have found.
Action Points

* Explain to patients who ask that the etiology of sarcoidosis, a multisystem noncaseating granulomatous disease, is not understood but it is thought that multiple environmental/occupational sources of exposure may interact with genetic factors to initiate the granulomatous response.

* Point out that this study demonstrates an increased incidence of "sarcoid-like" granulomatous pulmonary disease in New York firefighters and rescue workers exposed to airborne debris.

Twenty-six New York City firefighters and emergency medical service workers who were at ground zero have since developed evidence of a sarcoid-like granulomatous pulmonary disease, reported David J. Prezant, M.D., of the Fire Department of New York, and colleagues, in the May issue of Chest.

The condition, which the investigators call World Trade Center sarcoid-like granulomatous pulmonary disease, consists of abnormalities in the pulmonary parenchyma, hilar and/or mediastinal adenopathies, clinical features resembling asthma, and, in some cases, involvement of extrathoracic sites, such as the bones, joints, skin, or spleen.

The investigators had previously shown that even before 9/11, New York City firefighters and rescue personnel had an elevated incidence of sarcoidosis or sarcoid-like granulomatous disease. The conditions are linked to occupational or environmental exposures to organic dusts, metals, chemical dust, silica, and wood dust or smoke.

"We report here that the incidence of sarcoidosis or sarcoid-like granulomatous pulmonary disease among Fire Department of New York World Trade Center rescue workers (firefighters and EMS workers) was significantly increased when compared to the years before World Trade Center dust exposure," the investigators wrote. "This was especially true during the first 12 months after World Trade Center dust exposure."

To determine whether prolonged, repeated exposure to airborne particulates might increase the risk of sarcoidosis or sarcoid-like granulomatous pulmonary disease in a population already at risk, the investigators followed fire department employees who were enrolled in a monitoring program.

Those who had chest radiograph findings suggestive of sarcoidosis underwent additional evaluation, including chest CT imaging, pulmonary function tests, airway challenge tests, and biopsies.

The investigators calculated an annual incidence rate of sarcoidosis or the sarcoid-like condition and compared it with the 15 years before the World Trade Center attacks.

They found that 26 patients, all at the World Trade Center site within 72 hours of the collapse of the towers, when particulate levels were highest, had pathologic evidence consistent with new-onset sarcoidosis. All patients had intrathoracic adenopathy, and six (23%) had extrathoracic disease, involving the spleen, abdominal and pelvic lymph nodes, bones, joints, skin, and, in one case, hematuria.

Half the patients were identified within a year of their first exposure to the site debris, translating into an annual incidence rate of 86 per 100,000. The remaining 13 patients were identified with sarcoidosis or the sarcoid-like granulomatosis in the second through fifth years following the disaster, an annual incidence rate of 22 per 100,000.

In contrast, the average annual incidence rate of sarcoidosis among firefighters during the 15 years before the World Trade Center attacks was 15/100,000, and among controls (rescue personnel without exposure to fire conditions) the rate was 12.9/100,000.

Eighteen of the 26 patients (69%) had findings that were consistent with asthma, and fifteen of these patients had clinical symptoms: cough, dyspnea, and/or wheeze exacerbated by exercise and/or irritant exposure, or improved by the use of bronchodilators.

Of the 21 patients who agreed to undergo a provocative airway challenge with methacholine or cold-air exercise, eight had evidence of airway hyperreactivity, which had not been seen among fire department personnel with sarcoidosis before 2001.

"This new information about the early onset of World Trade Center sarcoid-like granulomatous pulmonary disease and its association with asthma/airway hyperreactivity has important public health consequences for disease prevention, early detection, and treatment following environmental -occupational exposures," the authors wrote.

05-14-2007, 10:07 AM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/05142007/news/regionalnews/cancer_kills_9_11_cop__46_regionalnews_jamie_schra m.htm


May 14, 2007 -- A retired NYPD detective who worked for the elite Emergency Service Unit died early yesterday of pancreatic and lung cancer believed to be related to his work at Ground Zero.

Retired Detective Robert Williamson, 45, died at his Orange County home with family around him, said Detectives Endowment Association head Michael Palladino.

"Unfortunately, I knew this day was going to come for a long time," Palladino said. "We are just now starting to see the long-term health affects of 9/11 on first responders."

Williamson was the third NYPD cop to succumb to cancers believed related to their post-9/11 service.

05-15-2007, 01:08 PM
Clinton, Nadler to investigate post-9/11 environmental cleanup

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Clinton_Nadler_to_investigate_post911_environmenta l_0515.html

Nick Juliano
Published: Tuesday May 15, 2007

Sen. Hillary Clinton announced today that, along with a New York Congressman, she will chair a probe looking into the federal government's response and environmental clean-up efforts in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"We need to examine what went wrong and assess whether the federal government is better prepared to respond to environmental hazards in future disasters," Clinton said in a news release. "I also remain concerned about potential indoor contamination resulting from the collapse of the World Trade Center and want to take a close look at the EPA's inadequate program to test and clean residential areas in Manhattan."

Leading the investigation in the House will be Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, who chairs House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Clinton and Nadler have criticized the government's failure to properly test and clean buildings contaminated by toxins released from the crumbling World Trade Center.

"Finally, we have an opportunity to hear, on the record and first hand, who in the federal government was really responsible for key decisions about the handling of post-9/11 air quality," Nadler said in the release. "And from there we can finally learn why those decisions were made -- decisions that are still having an impact on 9/11 victims today."

Nadler will convene the first hearing on the post-9/11 cleanup next Tuesday. Among the witnesses he invited is former Environmental Protection Agency head Christine Todd Whitman. Clinton has Senate hearings tentatively scheduled for the end of next month.

Full transcript of press release follows:


Washington, DC - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health, and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, announced today that they will conduct companion hearings into the failures of the Federal government in responding to the environmental crisis that resulted from the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks. For over five years, Clinton and Nadler have staunchly criticized the Administration's misleading public statements about post-9/11 air quality, as well as its continued failure to provide a proper testing and cleaning of indoor spaces contaminated by WTC toxins and its lack of provision of health care for the thousands of people who are ill as a result of exposure to the pollutants.

These hearings represent the first comprehensive Congressional oversight investigations into these environmental matters since the immediate aftermath of the attacks. While in the Majority, Republican House leadership steadfastly refused to hold a single hearing on this matter, or even respond to a written request made in September 2003 by Nadler, then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and then-Ranking Members John Conyers, John Dingell, George Miller, and Henry Waxman. (See http://www.house.gov/nadler/archive108/EPA_091703.htm ).

"We need to examine what went wrong and assess whether the federal government is better prepared to respond to environmental hazards in future disasters," said Senator Clinton. "I also remain concerned about potential indoor contamination resulting from the collapse of the World Trade Center and want to take a close look at the EPA's inadequate program to test and clean residential areas in Manhattan."

"Finally, we have an opportunity to hear, on the record and first hand, who in the federal government was really responsible for key decisions about the handling of post-9/11 air quality. And from there we can finally learn why those decisions were made -- decisions that are still having an impact on 9/11 victims today," said Nadler. "The lack of thorough Congressional oversight thus far has allowed for years finger-pointing and evading of responsibility on the part of the Federal government, but now is time for the truth. We must, at long last, get to the bottom of these matters, so we can do what is right for the heroes of 9/11, and ensure that we prevent anything like this from ever happening again." he added.

The House hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 22, 2007, at 10:00 A.M, in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building, and will examine the federal post-9/11 environmental response and related possible violations of the "substantive due process rights" of individuals living and working in the vicinity of the World Trade Center on, or after, September 11, 2001. In a recent decision, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found that former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman's falsely reassuring and misleading statements of safety after the September 11, 2001 attacks were "without question conscience-shocking." The court also found the facts "support an allegation of a violation of the substantive due process right to be free from official government policies that increase the risk of bodily harm" by Whitman's misstatements regarding the air quality of the affected area. An EPA Inspector General review reached similar conclusions. Invited to testify are:

Christine Todd Whitman, Former Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [invited];

John Henshaw, Former Administrator, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) [invited];

Samuel Thernstrum, Former Member, White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) [confirmed];

Tina Kreisher, Former Associate Administrator for Communications, Education and Media Relations, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [invited];

Suzanne Mattei, Former New York City Executive of the Sierra Club and Author of Pollution and Deception at Ground Zero [confirmed];

David Newman, New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health and Former Member, World Trade Center Technical Review Panel [confirmed];

Paul Harris, Shook, Hardy & Bacon [confirmed] (minority witness);

Other minority witness to be determined

The Senate hearing is tentatively scheduled for June 20th, 2007 and will examine the federal response to 9-11, including risk communication and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency programs to test and clean indoor spaces in lower Manhattan. The hearing will also examine lessons learned from 9-11 and federal readiness to respond to releases of hazardous substances in future emergencies. The hearing is expected to include testimony from EPA and CEQ officials, as well as affected New Yorkers and scientific experts.


05-16-2007, 09:06 AM
Former EPA Chief Refuses To Testify At 9/11 Hearing


Staff Reporter of the Sun
May 16, 2007

WASHINGTON — The former head of the Environmental Protection Agency is balking at a request by Rep. Jerrold Nadler that she testify before a congressional hearing on the federal response to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA administrator at the time, has declined an invitation to appear before a House subcommittee that Mr. Nadler chairs, an aide to the congressman said yesterday. Mr. Nadler, whose district includes ground zero, is expected to ask Ms. Whitman again before considering whether to seek to compel her testimony with a subpoena, the aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

Mr. Nadler and Senator Clinton yesterday announced companion hearings to investigate what they say was the government's failure to respond adequately to the environmental crisis in Lower Manhattan that resulted from the attack on the World Trade Center. Mr. Nadler's hearing is scheduled for May 22; Mrs. Clinton's is set for June 20.

Ms. Whitman has come under fire from lawmakers over the years for saying the air near ground zero was safe to breathe in the weeks following September 11. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Nadler have also faulted the EPA for insufficiently testing and cleaning buildings near ground zero after the attack.

A federal appellate court last month threw out a lawsuit against Ms. Whitman, ruling that her statements about the air quality in New York were not "conscience-shocking." Ms. Whitman has repeatedly denied misleading the public about the air quality; attempts to reach her late yesterday were unsuccessful.

One person who will not be asked to testify in Congress is Mayor Giuliani, who has drawn criticism in some quarters for not insisting more forcefully that workers at ground zero wear facemasks at the site. Many workers have since come down with respiratory illnesses, which studies indicate may be linked to the toxic dust at ground zero. An aide to Mrs. Clinton said yesterday that she was focusing on the federal response.

Mrs. Clinton may be leery of a congressional showdown with Mr. Giuliani, as it would likely be viewed through a political lens now that both are running for president.

05-18-2007, 08:44 PM
Update: Ex-EPA Chief Whitman Agrees to Testify


Justin Rood and Maddy Sauer Report:
May 18, 2007 2:28 PM

Ex-EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman abruptly reversed herself Friday and agreed to testify before Congress on her agency's response to the environmental fallout of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Two days ago, Whitman's lawyer Joel Kobert had denied a request from a House panel chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., for his client to testify, noting she was named in two lawsuits related to the issue.

But today, Whitman herself told Nadler in a hand-delivered letter that she was willing to participate in a hearing "if you insist."

Nadler had originally invited Whitman to testify at a May 22 hearing. In a press release today announcing Whitman's decision, Nadler said he would reschedule Whitman's hearing to a date "in the near future."

On Sept. 18, 2001, then-EPA head Whitman released a statement declaring the results from air monitoring tests in New York showed "their air is safe to breathe."

Nearly two years after the attacks, the EPA's inspector general concluded that assurance and others were based on insufficient information. The report also said that EPA press releases were softened under pressure from the White House.

Multiple studies have documented health problems amongst 9/11 emergency responders and workers.

One study released last year by Mount Sinai Hospital in New York showed more than 70 percent of Ground Zero workers suffered health ailments or severe respiratory problems.

Whitman and the EPA face lawsuits from people who claim to have been harmed by air pollutants in the lower Manhattan area resulting from the attack. In her letter to Nadler, Whitman said she did not believe "it is appropriate for me to testify about matters that are currently pending in litigation."

An appeals court ruled last month that one lawsuit against Whitman, brought by a small number of government employees, could not go forward because the EPA chief could not be held constitutionally liable for her statements in the wake of the disaster.

"Officials might default to silence in the face of the public's urgent need for information," warned Judge Dennis Jacobs.

That recent ruling may also affect a class-action suit that has been brought against Whitman by residents of lower Manhattan.

In an e-mailed statement, Nadler expressed gratitude for Whitman's decision. "There are so many unanswered questions about why certain decisions were made," said the lawmaker, whose district includes lower Manhattan.

05-23-2007, 10:08 PM
NYC links first death to 9/11 toxic dust
Woman died of lung disease five months after World Trade Center attacks


NEW YORK - A woman who died of lung disease five months after Sept. 11 was added Wednesday to the medical examiner's list of attack victims, marking the first time the city has officially linked a death to the toxic dust caused by the World Trade Center's collapse.

Felicia Dunn-Jones, a 42-year-old attorney who was caught in the dust cloud while fleeing the collapsing towers on Sept. 11, 2001, died of sarcoidosis, a disease that causes inflammation and scarring in the lungs, on Feb. 10, 2002.

"Mrs. Dunn-Jones' exposure to World Trade Center dust on 9/11/01 contributed to her death, and it has been ruled a homicide," Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch wrote.

The city said the Sept. 11 death toll at the trade center now stands at 2,750.

Dunn-Jones' family had asked last year that the medical examiner add her name to the death toll, but Hirsch wrote at the time that his office could not link her death to the exposure "with certainty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Since then, a doctor for the Fire Department of New York published a study that found firefighters who worked at ground zero contracted sarcoidosis at a much higher rate after the Sept. 11 attacks than before, linking the disease firmly to the dust exposure.

Previously, Dunn-Jones' estate received a $2.6 million death benefit from a federal fund to compensate victims' families.

Lawmakers say other ailments are connected
A class action lawsuit has claimed dozens of deaths have been caused by exposure to toxic trade center dust. A New Jersey medical examiner last year ruled that the January 2006 death of a retired police detective, 34-year-old James Zadroga, was "directly related" to his work at ground zero on and after Sept. 11.

New York lawmakers, some of whom urged the city to add Dunn-Jones to the death toll last year, said more people should be added in the future.

"Sadly, we have known that Felicia is not alone and that others have died from ailments caused by 9/11," said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. "I hope that the medical examiner is no longer in denial about the trade center dust. Dr. Hirsch must review the cases of other 9/11 heroes who, like Felicia, died in the prime of their lives."

05-24-2007, 01:25 PM
Killed by Sept. 11 poison
Historic city ruling on Island woman's fatal lung disease


Thursday, May 24, 2007

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A New Brighton woman's 2002 death was officially linked yesterday to the dust she inhaled at Ground Zero -- a historic determination by New York City, which has never before attributed a post-9/11 death to exposure to toxins at the World Trade Center.

Felicia Dunn-Jones, a 42-year-old married mother of two, died of a lung disease four months after being exposed to the dust on 9/11.

"It is likely, with certainty beyond a reasonable doubt, that exposure to WTC dust was harmful to [Ms. Dunn-Jones] ... and that exposure to World Trade Center Dust on 9/11/01 was contributory to her death," city medical examiner Dr. Charles Hirsch wrote in a letter to Richard H. Bennett, the family's attorney. "The manner of death will be changed from natural to homicide."

The medical examiner's determination raised the 9/11 death toll to 2,750, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner.

"You can't bring her back, that's the thing," said Ms. Dunn-Jones' mother, Carmen Dunn of West Brighton. "It's good that she was recognized. She was at the right place at the wrong time: She was at work, and you know what happened."

Ms. Dunn-Jones will be listed on the Sept. 11 memorial when it opens in 2009, a spokeswoman for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation said. Her name already appears on the Staten Island 9/11 memorial.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dunn-Jones family on this difficult day," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who chairs the 9/11 memorial foundation. "It is on their behalf and on behalf of all those affected by 9/11 that we are now building a memorial that remembers and honors the thousands of innocents that died."

Ms. Dunn-Jones was an attorney for the U.S. Department of Education and was trapped in the dust cloud caused by the collapse of the first World Trade Center tower. She did not return to Ground Zero and became ill shortly after the attacks. She died of sarcoidosis, a rare and debilitating condition that attacks the lungs and other vital organs, on Feb. 10, 2002.

"I'm happy she's going to be listed as a victim," said her sister, Sharyn Alvarez of Falls Church, Va. "We believe that she is [a victim]."

Her family applied for a death benefit through the federal September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, and eventually received $2.6 million.

Ms. Dunn-Jones was the only victim who didn't die on Sept. 11 to receive a death benefit from the fund.

The family then asked the city to include Ms. Dunn-Jones on the official list of 9/11 victims. The medical examiner initially said her death could not be linked to Trade Center dust "with certainty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Vito Fossella, along with the family, had lobbied intensely for the reversal.

"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 Ms. Maloney (D-Manhattan-Queens). "I hope that the medical examiner is no longer in denial about the Trade Center dust. Dr. Hirsch must review the cases of other 9/11 heroes who, like Felicia, died in the prime of their lives."

Ms. Borakove had no comment on Ms. Maloney's statement.

"While it took time for the medical examiner and others to reach this conclusion, it demonstrates that the health of innocent people was negatively affected by Ground Zero air," said Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn).

He said the federal government should release a comprehensive plan to monitor and treat all those who are sick or injured as a result of 9/11.

West Brighton attorney John D'Amato, who handled a number of 9/11 victim compensation cases, said yesterday's decision "gives credence to the argument that the fund should be reopened to compensate those injured as a direct result of their exposure, the rescue workers and emergency responders."

While agreeing that the dust was harmful to Ms. Dunn-Jones, Dr. Hirsch also writes that he has "reasonable doubt" that exposure to the dust actually caused her illness.

However, because the dust has been found to cause sarcoidosis in some people, Dr. Hirsch wrote that it is "highly likely that the dust would have aggravated pre-existing sarcoidosis."

"My sister was in good health before 9/11," said Ms. Alvarez.

A New Jersey medical examiner ruled last year that the January 2006 death of a retired police detective, 34-year-old James Zadroga, was "directly related" to his work at Ground Zero on and after Sept. 11.

A construction worker who lost half his foot while working at Ground Zero and is suing the city said the reversal of Ms. Dunn-Jones' cause of death vindicates the rescue and recovery workers who have suffered since the attacks.

"We're not the little boys crying wolf anymore. It's a 'told you so.' This whole time we weren't just running around saying we're sick. We now have legitimate proof," said Long Island resident John Feal. "But the fact that it took five years is insulting. The federal government's lack of compassion in helping heroes is insulting."

Feal, who heads the not-for-profit Feal Good Foundation to call attention to the issue, is hoping this development helps the thousands of ongoing cases brought by rescue and construction workers against the city.

05-25-2007, 07:55 AM
Calls for city to reexamine some post '9/11' deaths
Push came after first death is linked to toxic dust at Ground Zero


By Lisa Colagrossi

(New York -WABC, May 25, 2007) - There is renewed demand to reexamine the medical records in the deaths of at least eight responders at Ground Zero on "9/11". The city medical examiner's decision to link the toxic dust cloud to the death of a woman may be just the first step.

Eyewitness News reporter Lisa Colagrossi is live in Lower Manhattan with the story.

Activists, politicians and those suffering from 9/11 illnesses will gather at Ground Zero for a rally at 11:30 a.m. Their goal is to get the victim's compensation fund to reopen.

"About a month ago they had to rush me to the hospital because I couldn't breathe," said Marvin Bethea,

Marvin Bethea got a chestful of that 9/11 smoke. The cloud from more than a million tons of pulverized concrete, computers, glass, asbestos, lead and toxic chemicals.

He's gone from an athlete, to two pills a day, to 15 medications.

"Now that's very frustrating. My career got cut short..the fact that I cannot go up three flights of stairs right now. I'm 47 years old," said Bethea.

Bethea, and those organizing today's gathering, want the government to reopen the victim's compensation fund.

They want the money to be available to bystanders and first responders, still getting sick and sometimes dying from exposure to that toxic cloud.

"I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. We did what we were supposed to do and yet we have to fight for everything. It's just simply not right.

The call for a reexamination of old cases, got a big push when the city medical examiner agreed this week that attorney Felicia Dunn-Jones died from lung disease brought on by her exposure to the plume of dust and smoke on 9/11.

"The fact that so many are sick now and the government for the longest has been in denial is just simply not right," said Bethea.

The family of Felicia Dunn-Jones did receive money from the 9/11 victim's compensation fund, but many people have not.

05-25-2007, 07:56 AM
Higher 9-11 death toll raises questions


Associated Press Writer

Family members of ground zero workers who died after breathing in toxic dust from the collapsed World Trade Center say they want their relatives officially recognized as victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The official list of victims grew by one this week after the city agreed to include a New York attorney who died of lung disease months after the attack, confusing Sept. 11 family members about what distinguished this death from the scores of others attributed to the aftermath.

The city medical examiner's office said Thursday that Felicia Dunn-Jones' death was the only Sept. 11-related fatality it has been asked to review and definitively link to the twin towers' collapse. In the future, spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said, the medical examiner will review any case if a family makes such a request.

"We certainly never turn anybody down," she said.

That raises the prospect of an ever-increasing death toll nearly six years after the attacks. The count now stands at 2,750 after the inclusion of Dunn-Jones. It's up to Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch to decide whether to reclassify any deaths.

"It's his definition that we will follow in this city," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

A police union leader said first responders who became ill and died after working at ground zero should also be added to the city's official victim list.

"First responders who expired as a result of their 9/11-related injuries should in fact be given that same honor," said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association.

Those responders would include 34-year-old James Zadroga, a police detective who became sick and died of respiratory disease after working hundreds of hours in the ground zero cleanup. A New Jersey medical examiner has ruled his 2006 death was "directly related" to his work at ground zero and exposure to trade center dust.

Zadroga's father said he wanted the city to review his son's case.

"I'm going to go through the process, definitely," Zadroga said. "All these guys were heroes there. They're all dying."

David Reeve, whose wife, Deborah, died last year of an asbestos-related cancer after working for months around ground zero and at the morgue, said he would like her to be recognized as an attack victim.

Attorneys wondered whether the official listing of Dunn-Jones, a 42-year-old civil rights attorney who fled the collapsing towers from her office a block away, would make a difference in lawsuits accusing the city of negligence for failing to protect workers and residents from toxic air at the site.

"I have clients who are starting to call saying, should we dig up the bodies and have autopsies and have tissue samples," said David Worby, who represents 10,000 plaintiffs in a negligence lawsuit against the city. He said at least five of his clients recently died of sarcoidosis, the same disease that killed Dunn-Jones.

Bloomberg said that Dunn-Jones' case is different from those of workers who toiled for months at the site.

"This one case ... the woman was killed as a result of being there at the time of the attack," he said. "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. Not somebody who was injured the next day if a beam fell on them during the cleanup. That's a very different situation."

05-28-2007, 04:50 PM
Politicians: 9/11 Responder Deaths Are Homicides
Dunn-Jones May Not Be Only One Added To Memorial


Marcia Kramer

(CBS) NEW YORK Pressure is mounting on officials to declare the deaths of more than 100 9/11 responders as homicides.

There are also new calls for the victims' names to be added to the 9/11 Memorial.

Joseph Jones wears his wife Felicia Dunn-Jones' wedding rings around his neck, a poignant reminder of the woman whose death from lung disease in 2002 is now the first to officially be linked to the toxic dust from the World Trade Center attacks.

"She didn't die that day, but she died from wounds she suffered that day," Jones said. "Felicia was a casualty of an act of war."

Jones and his 15-year-old daughter, Rebecca, joined politicians at ground zero on Friday to demand the city Medical Examiner probe the deaths of others at ground zero to see if they are linked to the toxic cloud of dust from the attack.

"Thousands of people with 9/11 related illnesses, and the doctors have long understood that the ground zero dust was harmful and even deadly," Rep. Carolyn Maloney said.

First responders say its well past time for officials to admit they got sick from working on the pile.

"I applaud the medical examiner for making this direct link, but its six years late and we need more doctors to come forward and say these brave souls are sick because of the aftermath of 9-11," responder John Feal said.

Attorney David Worby represents thousands of 9/11 victims

"We have over 100 people who have died," Worby said. "What this case points out is that toxicity the woman was exposed to on one day killed her. We have people who were there for six months, thousands of hours, every day breathing it, ingesting it."

There was at least some good news for 9/11 responders on Friday. On Thursday night, Congress appropriated an additional $50 million for their health care needs.

Dunn-Jones' name will now be listed on the 9/11 Memorial at ground zero as an official casualty of the attack. Officials feel that others who have died from 9/11 illnesses should be given the same honor.

05-29-2007, 09:03 AM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/05292007/postopinion/editorials/the_search_for_truth_about_the_9_11_plume_editoria ls_.htm

May 29, 2007 -- Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch this month officially tied the 2002 death of a bystander, Felicia Dunn-Jones, to Ground Zero dust - and thereby heightened fears over the health fallout from the 9/11 attack.

Yes, the ruling provided relief to folks like Dunn-Jones' husband. He had lobbied hard for the designation, and saw it as justice being served.

Others, like Mayor Bloomberg, understandably are concerned that such linkage might unfairly tilt lawsuits filed against City Hall by rescue workers who seek compensation for injuries both real and, sometimes, exaggerated. Ultimately, such cases could cost the city a fortune.

Mayor Mike last week rightly noted one important distinction - between ill workers and folks injured on 9/11 as a direct result of the attacks.

Meanwhile, because Dunn-Jones was exposed to the plume only briefly as she fled the area, the M.E.'s ruling is sparking fears that countless others who breathed the air that day also may have been harmed - and may not even know it.

The question of 9/11's impact on public health is far too important to be decided on the basis of fears, well-meaning sympathy for those who become ill or the financial ramifications of compensating victims.

For New York City and the nation, it is crucial to establish the precise extent of the damage inflicted by the terrorists on that awful day. And to do so solely on the basis of solid evidence - and conclusions that emerge from rigorous, dispassionate scientific inquiry.

This, after all, is a matter of great historical and political import; accuracy and precision count. And neither overstating nor understating the consequences serves the city or the nation.

Alas, emotion and monetary considerations seem to play an increasingly large role in the shaping of this story.

Politicians (no surprise), their minds made up long before any serious investigation ever began, have fueled the trend.

"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," Rep. Carolyn Maloney said last week of Hirsch's decision.

Added New York's junior senator and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton: "This ruling is an important step toward acknowledging . . . the devastating and growing health impact of 9/11."

Who needs an examination of evidence or serious medical probing, in other words? Everyone's long "known" that 9/11 dust sickened countless people. The only thing research can do, they believe, is confirm conclusions that folks like Maloney, Clinton and Rep. Vito Fossella have espoused all along.

Indeed, Maloney and Fossella lobbied Hirsch to link Dunn-Jones' death to 9/11 dust long ago. They challenged him when he ruled in 2004 that there was insufficient proof of any connection.

Last Friday, they - along with Rep. Jerrold Nadler - urged him to review several other cases of people who died after working at Ground Zero.

This may play well politically, of course. But it does truth a big disservice.

Recall the case of Police Officer Cesar Borja. News reports brazenly attributed his death from lung disease to his service as a first-responder at Ground Zero.

This story buoyed those who blamed 9/11 dust for a widespread health crisis. Clinton invited Borja's son to attend the president's State of the Union Address. President Bush had him to the White House.

But later, The New York Times disclosed that, in fact, Borja never worked downtown until Dec. 24, 2001 - well after the plume had cleared. And that he only worked near the World Trade Center, not directly at the pile of rubble.

Now the question is: What made Hirsch suddenly change his opinion in the Dunn-Jones case?

Hirsch says mounting research convinced him. In a letter this month, he wrote that "accumulating evidence indicates that in some persons exposure to World Trade Center dust can cause or contribute to sarcoidosis with cardiac involvement."

That disease, a lung tissue-scarring illness, had earlier been cited as the cause of death in the Dunn-Jones case.

Hirsch said that, based on new research, he "concluded that Mrs. Dunn-Jones' exposure to World Trade Center dust on 9/11/01 contributed to her death and it has been ruled a homicide."

Yet, as it turns out, Dunn-Jones had sarcoidosis before 9/11. Hirsch cited the air as a possible contributing factor because experts believe exposure to dust can cause the disease to flare up - and that could have been what precipitated her death.

But how can anyone be sure it was exposure to 9/11 dust, and not some other factor, that aggravated the disease?

And even if it were the air, isn't it likely that some other irritant eventually might have set it off anyway, even if she'd managed to avoid the 9/11 plume?

The fact is, the underlying cause of death was her pre-existing sarcoidosis.

Did Hirsch succumb to pressure?

Maybe - or maybe not.

But in an emotion-driven, politically fueled climate, New Yorkers can't be sure.

And that does no one any good.

Let's be clear: Felicia Dunn-Jones' death was a tragedy, and our hearts go out to her family.

Rescue workers, too, can only be viewed as true heroes - if for no more than their willingness to risk the consequences and search for survivors.

And should sound research find post-9/11 air to be the primary cause of any illness, New York, and the nation, have a duty to respond to anyone affected.

In that case, the M.E. must establish causal links to determine each case. And he must resist the efforts of politicians and others - some perhaps searching for grounds for a lawsuit - to influence his decisions.

But Dunn-Jones' death simply was not persuasively linked to 9/11 - at least as the medical examiner explained it.

Politics and science rarely mix well.

This finding sets an unhappy precedent; it may serve the interests of the tort bar and like-minded advantage-seekers.

But it does not serve justice.

05-31-2007, 06:13 PM
New cancer concerns for 9/11 responders


Eyewitness News

(New York - WABC, May 31, 2007) - There are new health concerns surrounding 9/11 responders.

Doctors say the responders are getting blood cancers at unusually young ages, and they blame toxins at ground zero.

Eyewitness News reporter Joe Torres is in Lower Manhattan with the story.

Doctors diagnosed 42-year-old former NYPD detective Ernie Vallebuona with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in October of 2004. Forty two-year-old John Walcott, also a former city detective, learned he had leukemia in May of 2003.

"Maybe if someone took us serious four years ago, more people would've been tested. We wouldn't be talking about autopsies, this and that. More people would've gotten tested," Walcott said.

"I've been on a crazy ride ever since ... chemotherapy, radiation, stem-cell transfer, all types of treatment. It's been tough," Vallebuona said.

According to researchers, more and more relatively young 9/11 first responders now show signs of cancer -- cancer conditions seemingly triggered by their exposure to a wide range of chemicals and carcinogens at ground zero.

"We know we have a handful of cases of multiple myloma in very young individuals and multiple myloma is a condition that almost always presents later in life," said Dr. Robin Herbert of Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

Attorney David Worby, who represents thousands of 9/11 workers, says he warned federal and city officials of these health problems years ago. Now he says it's time for government leaders to do the right thing.

"There are a series of tests that people with a significant exposure need to have. That's got to come from the federal government and the city," Worby said.

06-02-2007, 11:20 AM
Dr. Cate Jenkins' New Article in the Journal of 9/11 Studies


Dr. Steven Jones

Dr. Cate Jenkins holds a PhD in Chemistry and works for the Environmental Protection Agency. She has written an important article -- a Request for Senate Investigation regarding the WTC Dust, here:


In an addendum, she also requests an FBI investigation:

The reader will note that Dr. Jenkins is not reluctant to criticize EPA and other officials and politicians in her quest for correct science regarding the toxicity of the WTC dust -- and fairness for those people who were injured by that toxic dust. Hundreds even thousands were hurt by the stuff. In an email, Jenna Orkin writes:

"I've worked with and relied on Cate Jenkins for over five years. As far as I know, her science is sterling and she is among the handful of people who spoke up forcefully and truthfully in the beginning when it counted the most but few were able or willing to do so.

"Cate's expertise on contamination has been relied on by journalists, activists and politicians working on this and other issues for decades. I have never heard of anyone who could find fault with her science and believe me, some people wanted to."

It is time to consider such "requests for investigation" of 9/11 issues at the highest levels as Dr. Jenkins has done. If such an investigation is opened, we may join in with some startling facts of our own about the WTC dust...

06-02-2007, 05:10 PM
Police Union Sues City Seeking Compensation For 9/11 Responder


June 01, 2007

The Police Benevolent Association filed a lawsuit Friday to force the city to pay the medical bills of an officer who says he got sick from working at the World Trade Center site after the September 11th terror attacks.

The PBA filed the suit on behalf of 36-year-old Officer Christopher Hynes who claims he inhaled some 400 lethal toxins, shards of shards, and pulverized concrete at the site.

He says he was never given a proper respiratory apparatus and was later diagnosed with sarcoidosis. He remains on restricted duty.

Hynes’ insurance company sued him for $5,000 after he was unable to keep up with his medical bills related to his treatment.

The PBA says firefighters with September 11th-related sarcoidosis are routinely granted line-of-duty status and the city pays all their medical bills.

The NYPD has denied Hynes line-of-duty designation benefits, and the PBA says that shows the department does not believe there's a medical link between Hynes' illness and his work at the WTC site.

A department spokesman had no comment on the lawsuit.

Last week, the city medical examiner ruled Felicia Dunn-Jones's death a homicide – after the examiner says her death from the same disease was partially caused by toxins at the site.

06-02-2007, 09:13 PM
Medical examiner's ruling sparks debate on 9/11-related deaths


The Associated Press
6/2/2007, 7:34 p.m. EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Long before the city medical examiner amended Felicia Dunn-Jones' death certificate, Kenneth Feinberg decided that the 42-year-old attorney caught in the choking, toxic dust of the fallen World Trade Center was dead because of Sept. 11.

"She was a murder victim," Feinberg said of Dunn-Jones, who died of lung disease five months after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Feinberg, who oversaw a federal fund to compensate Sept. 11 victims, paid her family a death benefit of over $2 million in 2004.

His was the first of many decisions since then to officially link a death to post-Sept. 11 exposure, although none was more dramatic than Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch's ruling last week to add Dunn-Jones to the Sept. 11 death toll.

The ruling means Dunn-Jones will be listed on the Sept. 11 memorial, a status several other families said they would seek from the city in the future. And the decision renews debate over who, or what standard, can definitively link a death after Sept. 11 to the toxic dust caused by the towers' collapse.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said after Dunn-Jones was declared a homicide victim that Hirsch would decide, and suggested that he would only rule in cases where the victims were exposed to dust on Sept. 11, instead of in the months afterward.

"We have to decide who died on that day as a result of the plane crashes into the buildings. That is a decision for the medical examiner to make," the mayor said.

Dr. Lorna Thorpe, deputy commissioner for the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said that decision is hard to come by.

"This question won't be resolved by any one medical examiner. There's no definitive test to say, is this a World Trade Center death," Thorpe said. "It's very frustrating."

Hirsch declined to be interviewed about his decision. He said in a statement last week that "accumulated scientific research" indicates that exposure to trade center dust can cause sarcoidosis, an inflammatory, lung-scarring disease that killed Dunn-Jones on Feb. 10, 2002.

He was also a co-author of a draft of autopsy guidelines that the federal government considered issuing across the nation, before ruling last year that the guidelines could be misinterpreted.

The draft said that because people exposed to post-Sept. 11 air live around the country, "consistent standards are a need not only for New York, but for the entire nation." The guidelines, which asked doctors to preserve tissue samples of exposed patients, would help doctors better treat those who are sick, the draft said.

Hirsch's spokeswoman, Ellen Borakove, said the office would review any deaths at the request of families, no matter where or when the victim died. The office could add future names to the official Sept. 11 death toll, she said.

Experts say that though the city's ruling may seem definitive, it is not the first or last word on a Sept. 11-related death.

A New Jersey medical examiner ruled over a year ago that the death of 34-year-old James Zadroga, a city police detective, was "directly related to the 9/11 incident." Zadroga was at ground zero for the collapse of 7 World Trade Center, the third building to collapse on Sept. 11, and spent hundreds of hours working at the site before he became ill. He died of respiratory failure in January 2006.

His death prompted then-Gov. George Pataki to sign a bill offering full death benefits to public employees who became sick and died after toiling in the dusty air that hung over the ruined trade center. A court will ultimately decide whether more than 100 people named in the largest lawsuit to be filed over post-Sept. 11 exposure are dead because of their time breathing the air at ground zero.

And before the victims' compensation fund overseen by Feinberg expired in 2004, Feinberg paid more than $1 billion to 2,000 others besides Dunn-Jones. Those people, he said, showed a "causal connection" between respiratory illnesses and post-Sept. 11 exposure. Feinberg said he doesn't know if any of those patients have died since then.

Doctors and experts warn that it will take many years to be sure of which illnesses and deaths can be directly attributed to Sept. 11. An article published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine predicted that as people exposed to Sept. 11 dust get older, "and develop malignant and nonmalignant respiratory diseases as a result of smoking and other factors, some will undoubtedly attribute these diseases to their exposure at ground zero."

The article by Johns Hopkins University and University of Rochester researchers suggests using a city-based health registry of more than 71,000 people to get more information. "Decades of commitment" are needed to the registry before illnesses and deaths can be definitively linked to exposure, it said.

Thorpe said some deaths have been reported in the registry, but the city needs more time to verify their causes. The state Department of Health is tracking commonalities in post-Sept. 11 deaths as well to try to find a stronger link.

"One study does not make a definitve case," she said, adding that researchers may have a "detection bias" to make connections. "If you're looking for a disease," she said, "you might find it more frequently."

06-03-2007, 08:52 PM
Peppini.com Covers 9/11 First Responder Vito Valenti
Big thanks to www.peppini.com (http://www.peppini.com/)

Click Here (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7680467674955300686) (Video Google)

This is a video of Vito Valenti recently made by Sak from www.peppini.com (http://www.peppini.com/). Because of the fund-raising (http://www.911blogger.com/node/8919) we've done, and the help we are giving Vito, and the FealGood Foundation, this video is dedicated to the 9/11 Truth Movement.

There are no words to describe how this made me feel, except to say that it made me cry. A big thank you to peppini.com (http://www.peppini.com/), John Feal, the FealGood Foundation (http://www.fealgoodfoundation.com/), and to Vito Valenti.

06-04-2007, 06:16 PM
Editorial: The poisonous legacy of 9/11


By Andrew Stephen
New Statesman
Copyright 2007 New Statesman Ltd.
All Rights Reserved

NEW YORK — 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.

06-06-2007, 09:25 PM
9/11 workers claim benefits denied


(New York - WABC, June 6, 2007) - A couple of first responders suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from ground zero say they're routinely being denied benefits they deserve. It's an Eyewitness News exclusive.
Eyewitness News reporter Nina Pineda has the story.

Just like Vietnam and Gulf War veterans, it sometimes takes decades for the trauma of these problems surface. And those that responded on September 11th have taken up to six years to recognize their lives were falling apart from what they experienced.

"I feel very depressed, I get agitated very easily ... I've had a couple of very serious bouts with anger," said Glen Klein.

NYPD officer Glen Klein spent eight months at ground zero digging through the debris pile. He lost 14 close colleagues from his ESU unit alone.

"Nothing has ever affected me the way this has," he said.

Klein has bravery and courage awards from 16 years on the job, but like many officers it was hard for them to admit to themselves they were suffering mentally from Post Traumatic Stress disorder, or PTSD.

"I was waking up in cold sweats and taking it out on the family," Alan Forcier said.

Unable to work, both Glen and Alan Forcier applied for disability benefits through the WTC disaster bill. Both were denied compensation.

In a letter from the New York City Medical Review Board, "... the board found no significant psychological findings precluding the detective from performing the full duties of his job." Therefore, his application was denied.

"Review Board wake up. Don't deny these guys because they waited for four years to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That's a usual symptom and they need help and can't work," attorney Sean Riordan said.

The New York City Pension Review Board cites it is helping those suffering psychologically from 9/11. Out of 105 applications, the board approved benefits for 26 PTSD sufferers, and also 15 first responders also were compensated under for anxiety and depression.

Mayor Bloomberg appoints two members of the three member board.

"The two cases you're talking about are before a board which is made up of city representatives, union representatives and professionals in the medical field. And they're the ones that should make those kinds of decisions," Bloomberg said.

Yet to be one of those denied by those experts has felt like a slap in the face twice.

"We spent hundreds of hours down there at ground zero. We're not scamming, we're not trying to get anything we don't deserve," Klein said.

And dozens of those who responded here are appealing in a lawsuit to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, there is a very important deadline coming up -- June 14th. It is the cutoff for any city worker who responded here and did rescue and cleanup. You can find the information on the right hand side of the page.

06-08-2007, 04:26 PM
Maloney, Fossella applaud $50 million for 9/11 health in House Appropriations Bill



Washington – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY), co-chairs of the Congressional 9/11 Health Caucus, applauded the inclusion of $50 million for 9/11 health care and medical monitoring in the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill for FY 2008. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI) and a bipartisan group of Appropriations Committee members from New York -including Nita Lowey, James Walsh, José Serrano, Maurice Hinchey and Steve Israel- helped move the much-needed funding forward.

The funding announced today would supplement the $50 million for 9/11 health included in an emergency spending bill approved by Congress last month. The "Labor HHS" appropriations measure is expected to be considered by the full House in the next two weeks.

Maloney and Fossella are the co-authors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would extend long-term medical monitoring to everyone exposed to Ground Zero toxins and federally-funded health care to anyone who is sick as a result. Additionally, the bill would reopen the federal Victim Compensation Fund for sick and injured 9/11 responders and lower Manhattan residents, workers and schoolchildren. Maloney's and Fossella's legislation has been co-sponsored by a group of 21 bipartisan Members of Congress and is supported by the New York State AFL-CIO, District Council 37-AFSCME, the Sergeants Benevolent Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, among others.

06-08-2007, 04:26 PM
In other words, "We will watch you die, and never concede that we owe you anything because that would open up lawsuits that can hurt our rich friends."

06-11-2007, 09:05 AM
9/11 health czar named
Mayoral appointee vows 'to get answers for people'


Monday, June 11th 2007, 4:00 AM

Mayor Bloomberg has tapped veteran publicist Jeffrey Hon as his pointman on World Trade Center illnesses - "the go-to person in city government for people who have issues related to health care," Hon confirmed to the Daily News yesterday.

"I want to do a lot of listening. I want to take a lot of concerns back to the city," said Hon, 53, a former spokesman for the American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program. "I want to get answers for people."

Hon said he will try to smooth out inconsistencies in pension benefits among city agencies whose employees responded to the terrorist attacks.

"We want to make sure that everybody who worked for the city who was affected by 9/11 gets treated in the same way," Hon said.

The appointment comes four months after Bloomberg's advisers recommended that someone be named to coordinate city policy as it related to Ground Zero illnesses.

But even as he tries to speak for ailing workers, Hon will work for City Hall.

The city faces a raft of lawsuits alleging negligence at the World Trade Center site and numerous complaints about its rejection of pension and workers' compensation claims for people who toiled there.

"Is he going to be able to implement change?" asked Marianne Pizzitola, the pension and benefits coordinator for Uniformed EMS Officers Union Local 3621.

"It sounds extremely positive that he wants to jump in to this and find out what our problems are and how they should be remedied," she said. "But if they're not going to be remedied, we still have a big fight ahead of us."

A Bloomberg spokesman declined to comment.

Hon said he will create a "one-stop shopping" Web site about the science behind 9/11 illnesses.

In addition to aiding New Yorkers, the site will help volunteers from around the country whose doctors may be unfamiliar with treatment guidelines developed by the city, he said.

"It's going to be an extremely complicated, challenging position," Hon said.

"It's called a coordinator position. I see it sort of as a wrangler position, that the city is a really complex operation, and we just need to make sure that everybody is on the same page," Hon said.

"I was in New York on 9/11," he said. "I really believe that this is a position that can make some real difference, and I plan to give it my very, very best shot."

06-12-2007, 09:43 AM

http://www.nypost.com/seven/06122007/news/nationalnews/whitman_to_face_9_11_fire_nationalnews_geoff_earle .htm


June 12, 2007 -- WASHINGTON - Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman will be grilled on the government's environmental response to 9/11 at a congressional hearing June 25.

A House judiciary subcommittee headed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) will investigate violations of "substantive due-process rights" of people living and working near Ground Zero, with Whitman as the star witness.

Whitman, who was running the Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 11, balked at testifying last month, when the panel first tried to call her.

But she has since agreed to face lawmakers and TV cameras in the first major congressional probe into Sept. 11 illnesses focusing on the EPA's response.

06-12-2007, 01:58 PM
9/11 Study Participants Dropping Out


by Fred Mogul

WNYC NEWSROOM June 12, 2007 —People who may have been exposed to 9/11 dust and debris have been dropping out of a long-term study to monitor health problems. WNYC’s Fred Mogul has more.

The Health Department initially hoped to enlist hundreds of thousands of people in the World Trade Center Health Registry. The idea is to track them for 20 years or more, if funding lasts, to see whether health problems arise. The Registry got about 70,000 respondents in its 1st round, in 2003.

Last June, health officials launched a follow-up round of surveys, but a year later, less than half of the original group has participated. Advocates have criticized the registry, because its purpose is to detect broad patterns rather than help individuals, but officials say it performs a crucial role. Yesterday, the city announced the appointment of a new World Trade Center Health Coordinator and a professional working group to follow research, screening and treatment programs.

For WNYC, I’m Fred Mogul.

06-12-2007, 07:34 PM
Michael Moore takes healthcare issue to voters


Published: Tuesday June 12, 2007

Filmmaker Michael Moore appeared for an interview on the June 12th episode of ABC's Good Morning America to defend the premise and arguments made in his latest film, Sicko, which documents the state of America's health care system.

In the interview, Moore asserts that the health care in America is a system that "essentially is run by greed." Moore also went on to defend his tactics in the film, including taking ailing 9/11 workers to Guantanamo Bay and Cuba for treatment.

"I'm using satire to make a larger point politically and socially," said Moore. "And you want to call that a stunt, it's certainly no different than what you would do on 'Good Morning America' on any given day except you wouldn't actually confront the government in the way I would do it."

Video At Source