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Thread: A Fallen Hero - Video Inside

  1. #251
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    Jan 2005
    5,000 GET MED CARE


    June 17, 2007 -- About 5,000 active and retired FDNY employees are receiving medical treatment for injuries and illnesses connected to the World Trade Center attacks, according to a Fire Department document.

    "That is an absolutely staggering number, and it's a number that speaks volumes," said Andrew Carboy, a lawyer who represents more than 200 firefighters in a negligence suit against the city. "That's half of what the force was on 9/11."

    The FDNY had about 11,000 members on Sept. 11, 2001.

    About 3,000 firefighters and EMS workers are receiving counseling for emotional problems. Another 1,500 are suffering respiratory ailments.

    There are also between 600 and 1,000 FDNY members - most of whom retired after 9/11 - currently receiving prescription medication for a variety of illnesses, from asthma and gastrointestinal disease to depression and anxiety.

    The shocking numbers were revealed in a June 8 FDNY "request for proposals," launched in search of a vendor to manage the department's prescription-drug program for five years.

    The department announced in February that it will use millions of dollars in federal funds to help subsidize medication for workers suffering from 9/11-related injuries, allowing them to obtain free prescription drugs.

    Although all 5,000 workers suffering from ailments - who were all screened by the FDNY - are eligible for the program, many are using workers' compensation or other forms of insurance to obtain medication.

    There are 207 drugs approved in the program, including antidepressants Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil; anti-anxiety medication Xanax; narcotic painkiller OxyContin; and antipsychotics Haldol and Zyprexa, which are used to combat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

    "When 5,000 members of the FDNY qualify for these kinds of medications, it's clear this problem isn't going to go away anytime soon," said Stephen Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

    "People tend to forget, or maybe it's just human nature, to put that event behind you," he said. "But firefighters, many of whom lost many, many friends that day, besides the physical injuries, still suffer severe emotional pain."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #252
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    Jan 2005
    Senate To Hold Hearing On 9/11 Dust

    June 20, 2007

    Federal and city officials are expected to face tough questions today over the government's response to the September 11th attacks.

    Senator Hillary Clinton will lead a hearing on federal efforts to deal with environmental problems caused by the attacks.

    Of specific interest is whether the government has done enough to protect those who were exposed to toxic air at the World Trade Center site. The panel will also try to determine if the federal government is prepared for a similar situation in the future.

    EPA officials and members of the President's Council on Environmental Quality are among those expected to testify.

    NY1 political reporter Michael Scotto will be in Washington for the hearing and will have reports later today.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #253
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    Jan 2005
    9/11's Lingering Cloud
    Medical Evidence, Political Pressure Keep Mounting, But Sick Ground Zero Responders Face Grim Future


    It has been a cruel year for 5-year-old Tylerann Zadroga, and last week proved especially difficult. At her suburban New Jersey day care center, Tylerann could only watch as the other children made Father's Day cards.

    "She's been upset the last few days," said her grandfather, Joseph Zadroga. "She's really been missing him."

    Tylerann's dad, James Zadroga died last year at the age of 34. A decorated NYPD detective, the 9/11 rescue worker's death was the first to be directly linked to exposure to the toxic air at ground zero. (Zadroga's wife died of a heart ailment in 2005, leaving the job of raising Tylerann to her grandparents.)

    Seventeen months after James Zadroga died of a respiratory disease triggered by World Trade Center toxins, doctors and politicians have gradually awakened to the ballooning health crisis stemming from the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. The debilitating — and increasingly deadly — illnesses plaguing recovery workers are now well documented.

    Of the 70,000 people taking part in Mount Sinai Medical Center's World Trade Center health study, 85 percent are suffering some kind of respiratory problem. Medical experts now say the toxic cloud sparked at ground zero has not only caused severe breathing problems in the short term but also will likely spawn diseases like cancer in the years to come. The mounting medical evidence has put pressure on lawmakers to fund monitoring and treatment for sick responders.

    Still, resentment and desperation lingers among the ailing workers and the families of 9/11's delayed health casualties. They say not enough is being done to treat, support and honor the terrorist attack's forgotten victims.

    "If Bush can send $15 billion to Africa over five years for AIDS treatment, I'm sure he could find $1 billion a year to help these people," Joseph Zadroga said.

    For the workers besieged by ground zero-related illnesses, the pain has been increasingly unbearable. Bonnie Giebfried was buried alive in the debris of the Trade Center's south tower. The former EMT suffers from numerous ailments, including asthma, nerve damage and sciatica. But Giebfried says the emotional fallout has been equally as draining for sick responders. Surviving 9/11 responders are falling into dark clouds of depression, drugs and even suicide, she says, and with disabled parents unable to work, family dynamics are crumbling.

    The struggles are also financial. Because Giebfried was employed by a private hospital on Sept. 11, 2001, she was not considered a "uniformed" city worker and thus did not qualify for three-quarter salary benefits afforded to sick responders who worked for the city. She lost her chance at getting a disability pension at work because she fell six months shy of qualifying. Her union cancelled her medical and prescription drug benefits. Red tape and unbalanced assistance programs aren't just hurting Giebfried: In February, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office released a report showing that 40 percent of sick ground zero workers have no insurance or inadequate coverage.

    "People don't know how we're existing every day, trying to pay bills, keep family structure and keep our heads above water," said Giebfried, who has lost all her savings to medical bills. "The government left us buried at ground zero."

    Earlier this month, Mayor Bloomberg appointed a new World Trade Center health czar for New York. Jeffrey Hon, a former spokesman for the Red Cross Sept. 11 Recovery Program, has the task of ironing out inconsistencies in the city's health benefits as well as working with programs tracking ground zero workers' health. That effort may be hampered by a statistic released just last week: Only half of roughly 70,000 members in the registry tracking post-9/11 illnesses have responded to follow-up surveys. The dwindling numbers are making the city's already-complex task of gauging the long-term health effects more difficult.

    Despite the monitoring challenges, the evidence already collected is indisputable. According to a major Mount Sinai study released last September, 70 percent of the roughly 10,000 ground zero workers tested said they experienced new or substantially deteriorated respiratory problems. More than one in four nonsmokers reported breathing problems — double the rate of nonsmokers in the general population. Also, the head of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program said last month that several workers had developed rare blood cell cancers.

    The sick are slowly dying. Though the toll is undoubtedly higher, the deaths of at least four police officers (including Zadroga), a communications worker, an attorney and a nun have been directly linked to ground zero exposure. A class-action lawsuit claims dozens more have died from inhaling toxic debris from the Trade Center. Giebfried says she personally knows more than 20 colleagues who have lost their lives since becoming ill.

    Dr. Michael Baden, chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police and the former chief medical examiner of New York City, has reviewed several ground zero-related autopsies, including Zadroga's. He says the growing list of victims should make cities rethink their disaster-management plans in the future. "Three thousand people may have died, but 100,000 others may have been exposed," he said.

    Baden cautions that it could take two decades to gauge the long-term effects of the ground zero cocktail of asbestos, mercury, lead and other contaminants. Identifying and analyzing the plethora of potentially carcinogenic chemicals that wafted over the World Trade Center is a painstaking process, so festering diseases such as lung cancer can only be conclusively linked to the 9/11 down the road.

    But medical experts are already sounding alarms. Last month, the co-director of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program warned that cancer would likely become the "third wave" of illnesses plaguing ground zero workers. Dr. Robin Herbert said the first wave refers to coughing and respiratory problems developed immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, and the second wave includes severe chronic lung diseases. One such disease, sarcoidosis, claimed the life of New York attorney Felicia Dunn-Jones in 2002. Last month, the city medical examiner added her death to the official list of 9/11 victims — the first such casualty added to the city's tally.

    That acknowledgment has prodded the government to provide more assistance. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, co-chair of the Congressional 9/11 Health Caucus, said there are many more victims that the city has not documented. Earlier this month, she and other New York delegates helped get $50 million for 9/11 health care and medical monitoring included in a new appropriations bill. Though Maloney is encouraged by the political progress on Capitol Hill, she expressed frustration with the administration's sluggish response to calls for a comprehensive long-term plan to monitor and treat sick workers.

    "Everyone who breathed deadly toxic fumes deserves to be monitored and examined and everyone who is sick deserves to be treated," Maloney said. "We've been promised a plan for well over a year, but we have yet to see it."

    Maloney and Rep. Vito Fossella recently re-introduced the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The bill would extend and improve the federal government's long-term medical monitoring, treatment and compensation for those afflicted by ground zero toxins. So far, however, the measure has languished in Congress.

    Maloney has also urged New York's medical examiner to reconsider James Zadroga's death as a homicide. (New York still has not recognized his death as 9/11-related, despite a New Jersey medical examiner's ruling that it was.) Only an acknowledgment by the city would include Zadroga in the "official" tally of 9/11 victims. Only then would his name be added to the Sept. 11 memorial.

    "That's an honor he deserves," Joseph Zadroga said.

    Nearly six years after 9/11, the death toll from the terrorist attack continues to grow. NYPD Det. Robert Williamson died last month of pancreatic cancer his family says was caused by his recovery work at ground zero. The 20-year police veteran toiled for more than 100 hours on the World Trade Center's pile of toxic debris before retiring in 2002 and ultimately falling ill.

    Williamson, 46, left behind a wife, Maureen, and three children. He was finally awarded a disability pension last September — just days before the fifth anniversary of Sept, 11, 2001. Maureen Williamson says her husband was never angry about his condition even though he predicted the impending crisis while he was working among the ground zero toxins.

    "He said within weeks, 'A lot of people are gonna be very, very sick.' It was that obvious, he just knew it," she recalls.

    Maureen Williamson says doctors and lawmakers are finally confronting the magnitude of the problem. She credits the New Jersey medical examiner who conclusively linked Zadroga's death last year to ground zero exposure as a "monumental" turning point. Still, she says, the wake-up call may be too late for some.

    "We're coming around to admitting it and fessing up to it. It's taken this long to say people are dying from exposure down there," she said. "They're getting sick and they're so young. They've lived half their life, and they're getting robbed of other half."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #254
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    Jan 2005
    Bush aide defends handling of 9/11 air woes

    The Associated Press
    June 20, 2007, 10:04 AM EDT

    WASHINGTON -- A top White House official on Wednesday defended the government's handling of post-Sept. 11 air contamination at ground zero.

    "In all instances, federal agencies acted with the best available data at the time, and updated their communications and actions as new information was obtained," James Connaughton, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in prepared testimony to a Senate panel led by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    Clinton, D-N.Y., has sternly criticized the government for not doing enough to protect ground zero workers and lower Manhattan residents from the tons of toxic dust released by the collapse of the World Trade Center.

    An internal government investigation found the Environmental Protection Agency offered public assurances in the days after the attacks without scientific data to back up those claims.

    A report released to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by the Government Accountability Office faulted the agency's post-disaster cleanup plan for surrounding buildings.

    Next week, a House panel plans to challenge then-EPA administrator Christine Whitman on her statements and actions in September 2001.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #255
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    Jan 2005
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #256
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    Jan 2005
    Senate Environment & Public Works subcmte. hearing on EPA's Response to 9-11

    Click Here (realplayer)

    "In all instances, federal agencies acted with the best available data at the time, and updated their communications and actions as new information was obtained," James Connaughton, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in prepared testimony to a Senate panel led by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    Oh really James?

    "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."

    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #257
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    Jan 2005
    Clinton condemns response to 9/11 dust

    June 21, 2007

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday chastised the Bush administration for failing to warn New Yorkers about toxic dust after the terror attack on the World Trade Center, but withheld criticism of the city's response under then-mayor and fellow presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani.

    "Nearly six years after 9/11, we still don't have the whole truth about the toxic cloud of poison that filled the air after the towers fell," Clinton said yesterday at a hearing of the Senate subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health, which she chairs.

    "We don't have an explanation for the misrepresentations that put countless people at risk of exposure to chemicals that we know are causing illness and death."

    The chief of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, James Connaughton, defended the administration's handling of the toxic cleanup, saying its response was "conveyed real-time in fast-moving circumstances."

    "In all instances, federal agencies acted with the best available data at the time, and updated their communications and actions as new information was obtained," he said.

    Since the attacks, independent government reviews have faulted the EPA's handling of the immediate aftermath of the attacks and the agency's long-term cleanup of nearby buildings.

    An estimated 20,000 people live within a half-mile of the collapsed towers, including nearly 3,000 children. A study of more than 20,000 people released in September by Mount Sinai Medical Center said as many as 70 percent of Ground Zero responders developed a new or worsened respiratory illness.

    Giuliani has been faulted for failing to enforce regulations that would have required responders to wear respirators.

    A separate medical study released last month found that rescue workers and firefighters contracted sarcoidosis, a serious lung-scarring disease, at a rate more than five times higher than the years before the attacks.

    Clinton and other New York lawmakers have sought to pressure the agency to do more to clean apartment buildings in lower Manhattan.

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat whose district includes Ground Zero, will hold a hearing next week to question former EPA administrator Christie Todd Whitman.

    This story was supplemented with Associated Press reports.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #258
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 Responders Speak Out on Government Failure to Address Environmental, Health Impact of World Trade Center Collapse

    Click Here (realplayer)


    Two 9/11 responders join us to talk about the government's neglect of the thousands of people who volunteered for the Ground Zero rescue and recovery effort. Trained emergency medical technician Regina Cervantes is featured in Michael Moore's latest documentary SiCKO and traveled to Cuba for medical treatment. Leading advocate John Feal is president of the FealGood Foundation that assists 9/11 responders who have been denied government benefits. [includes rush transcript - partial]

    Almost six years after the attacks, there has been no congressional funding devoted to the environmental health impact of the collapse on Lower Manhattan residents. On Wednesday Senator Clinton announced a subcommittee proposal requesting $55 million for precisely such a program that would screen and treat all individuals exposed to Ground Zero dust. For the thousands of ailing 9/11 responders who have been getting sicker and sicker while waiting for treatment and benefits, does this hold any promise? To find out, we are joined today by two 9/11 responders.

    Regina Cervantes. Trained emergency medical technician. She rushed to Ground Zero on September 11th and suffers from respiratory illnesses. She is featured in Michael Moore's latest documentary SiCKO and traveled to Cuba for medical treatment.

    John Feal. Leading advocate for 9/11 responders. He is the president of the FealGood Foundation that assists 9/11 responders who have been denied government benefits. He was a first responder at Ground Zero and suffers serious health consequences.

    AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of debates, today we’ll look at healthcare.

    JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes. A new congressional study has revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency misled Lower Manhattan residents about levels of indoor air contamination after 9/11. The report lambasted the EPA for giving residents “a false sense of security.”

    The Government Accountability Office report was released during a Senate hearing Wednesday on the EPA’s response after the collapse of the World Trade Center. Senators repeatedly questioned James Connaughton, the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality at the time, about whether the Bush administration manipulated public information about the health dangers following the collapse.

    Senators Hillary Clinton and Frank Lautenberg both questioned Connaughton about a 2003 EPA Inspector General report, which claimed that he personally -- or his staff -- edited EPA press releases.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: So, let me ask, did you convince EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones?

    JAMES CONNAUGHTON: I think those characterizations by the Inspector General were incompletely formed and inaccurate.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: But let me show you. The EPA IG report contains several specific examples of these type of changes, and one of them is reproduced on a chart that I’ve brought today. And let me see if -- it’s impossible to read, but as the chart shows, a draft September 13, 2001 press release stated that -- and I quote -- "preliminary results of EPA sampling activities” -- the thousands of samples that Ms. Bodine referred to -- “indicated no or very low levels of asbestos. However, even low levels, EPA considers asbestos hazardous and will continue to monitor and sample for elevated levels of asbestos and work with appropriate officials to ensure awareness and proper handling, transportation and disposal of potentially contaminated debris or materials.” That was the original draft. The final release stated that -- and I quote -- “EPA is greatly relieved to have learned that there appears to be no significant levels of asbestos dust in the air in New York City.”

    SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG: Why does the White House seem -- why do they seem so focused on preventing the raw truth to the public? Why did you feel it necessary in CEQ to review press statements and change things that were in there that might have been of more concern, but more candid?


    SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG: Well, you did then, according to the reports that we see, that there were modifications of words and statements, that you were the final decision-maker in terms of what was allowable, what could go to the press. There are lots of things that stress the fact that no releases were to go out without the approval of the administration, and that would have been you.

    JAMES CONNAUGHTON: I disagree with your conclusion, Senator.

    JUAN GONZALEZ: That was James Connaughton. Prior to his confirmation as the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Connaughton worked the mining, chemical, utilities and asbestos industry. Almost six years after the attack, there has been no congressional funding devoted to the environmental health impact of the collapse on Lower Manhattan residents.

    On Wednesday, Senator Clinton announced a subcommittee proposal requesting $55 million for precisely such a program that would screen and treat all individuals exposed to Ground Zero dust. Of the thousands of ailing 9/11 responders who have been getting sicker and sicker while waiting for treatment and benefits, does this hold any promise?

    AMY GOODMAN: Well, to find out, we’re joined today by two 9/11 responders. John Feal was a demolition supervisor who was one of the many volunteers helping with the recovery operation at Ground Zero. After a week of working in the toxic ruins, his foot was crushed by an eight-ton steel beam. He soon began to suffer serious respiratory illnesses, but did not qualify for the 9/11 relief fund. John is one the leading and most passionate advocates for 9/11 first responders. He’s president of the FealGood Foundation that assists 9/11 responders who have been denied government benefits.

    Regina Cervantes is a trained emergency medical technician. She rushed to Ground Zero on September 11, but suffered respiratory failure after three days. Regina and her two children all suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and moved to Oklahoma City. Regina is featured in Michael Moore's latest film SiCKO. Michael Moore took her to Cuba for medical treatment.

    John Feal and Regina Cervantes join us now in Washington, D.C. Welcome to Democracy Now. Regina, let’s begin with you. Why are you in Washington?

    REGINA CERVANTES: Well, we came to hopefully have an impact on the elected officials when they viewed the film last night and hoped to advocate for the more than 50,000 responders who are now sick as a result of the toxic contamination.

    AMY GOODMAN: Tell us what happened to you on September 11. Where were you? How did you end up at Ground Zero?

    REGINA CERVANTES: I was transported by the New York Fire Department to Shea Stadium, where I organized the medical component of the staging, and then I was transported on the first team out of there down to Ground Zero. My very first task at Ground Zero was assisting to help put Father Mychal Judge in an ambulance to go to the morgue. I restaged triage, and I continued to treat rescue workers and injured people at the scene until after 9:00 that evening.

    AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, Father Mychal Judge, the fire chaplain who died on September 11, extremely popular in New York. So, Reggie, what happened then?

    REGINA CERVANTES: I went home, and I returned on the 13th and then on the 14th. And by the 14th, my airway was so burned I could barely speak. I sought medical care on that Saturday, and I’ve struggled ever since to catch my breath when I walk, and I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, chronic asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks.

    JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Regina, what kind of protection did you get in those early days from either the Fire Department or other emergency officials on the scene?

    REGINA CERVANTES: I received nothing. On the 13th, I received a hard hat on the pier on the West Side prior to going in. I had never owned a hard hat before. I had my jump bag, my gear from my home, when I left on the 11th, and I had a dust mask in there, and I wore that for a few hours earlier on 9/11, but other than that, when it was too wet from the moisture from breathing and too clogged on the other side from the dust, I had to discard it. And then it was just a matter of continuously inhaling and gasping. And when you opened your mouth, you ingested the dust and the smoke. So there was no -- nobody dispensed any equipment to us.

    JUAN GONZALEZ: And once you got sick, what was the response among the fire officials?

    REGINA CERVANTES: Well, as a volunteer emergency medical technician, I fell outside the realm of organized Fire Department or EMS. As a volunteer, you know, basically we’ve been on our own ever since. No help.

    AMY GOODMAN: Let’s turn to John Feal for a minute, John Feal, who heads the FealGood Foundation. Tell us where you were on September 11 and what happened afterwards, John.

    JOHN FEAL: Well, Amy, I just want to say thank you to you and Juan for having us on the show. In the 9/11 community, as journalists, you guys are a step above the rest. We put you guys at a high level, because you and Juan have really done a great job, and we’re humbled to be here today.

    AMY GOODMAN: Well, I also want to just say it’s Juan who’s done really the leading work, the crusading work, for the New York Daily News --

    JOHN FEAL: Yeah, he’s a phenomenal man.

    AMY GOODMAN: -- and here on Democracy Now!, bringing attention well before these hearings, right after 9/11, to the basically lies that were being told about the safety of the environment at Ground Zero.

    JOHN FEAL: I was -- to answer your question, I was up in Nanuet when the towers came down, and then the following day I went to Ground Zero. I got hurt on the 17th of September. I spent five days there, and I never once wore a mask, nor did anybody ever say, “Hey, John, put on this mask.” But every day I was there, I said somebody would get hurt, and it wound up being me. And it was an unsafe workplace.

    And looking back now, although it altered my life -- and, listen, you know, eleven weeks in the hospital changes anybody's life -- but I don’t look negative about it anymore. I think about solutions and problem-solving and what we could do now to correct a problem that’s lingered for six years. But that starts at the top. And the lack of compassion in helping brave souls like Reggie and the thousands others -- I mean, unless you’re a fan of mass murder or genocide, you’ve got to correct this now, because this is becoming catastrophic.

    We’re here in Washington today, and we were helping promote Michael Moore's movie SiCKO, and that’s Americans at large, but there’s also that small segment of 9/11 responders. And with power -- because we are in Washington, and this is where all the power is -- comes responsibility. And they’re not -- as elected officials, you’re elected to serve and protect. And I’m going to say 90% of our country’s leaders are not serving and protecting. And more and more 9/11 heroes are dying because of that.

    AMY GOODMAN: Well, John Feal and Regina Cervantes, we’re going to break, but we’re going to come back. We’re also going to show that clip, where Michael Moore stands with the three 9/11 responders, including Reggie, as he tries to get into Guantanamo to get healthcare for the 9/11 first responders. Stay with us.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  9. #259
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    Jan 2005
    Christie blasts Rudy on WTC air

    Saturday, June 23rd 2007, 10:25 AM

    In an upcoming interview with WNBC-TV, former head of the EPA Christie Whitman says former Mayor Rudy Giuliani blocked her efforts to force WTC workers to wear respirators.

    Former Environmental Protection Agency boss Christie Whitman says she urged Ground Zero workers to wear respirators, but then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani blocked her efforts.

    She also said city officials didn't want EPA workers wearing haz-mat suits because they "didn't want this image of a city falling apart."

    In an interview scheduled to run the day before Whitman testifies in front of Congress on Monday, she told WNBC-TV she warned the city of the risks almost every day.

    And she said she believes illnesses killing first responders can be blamed on the city's lack of action.

    "I'm not a scientist ... but I do [believe that]," she told WNBC's Brian Thompson.

    "I mean, we wouldn't have been saying that the workers should wear respirators if ... we didn't think there might be health consequences."

    She said the city had the responsibility to make sure workers wore respirators. But many took them off, complaining of heat. She said workers without respirators were barred from cleanup efforts at the Pentagon.

    "We were certainly frustrated at not being able to get people to wear respirators because we thought that was critically important to workers on The Pile," Whitman said.

    "Every day, there would be telephone calls, telephone meetings and meetings in person ... with the city when we repeated the message of the necessity of wearing respirators."

    But her concern at the time only involved breathing air on The Pile.

    Only seven days after the 9/11 attacks, as fires still raged at the site, she said, "I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C., that the air is safe to breathe."

    Whitman also criticized Giuliani's handling of a suspected anthrax attack at NBC's Rockefeller Center headquarters weeks after 9/11.

    "There was concern by the city that EPA workers not be seen in the haz-mat suits," she said. "They didn't want this image of a city falling apart. I said, 'Well, that's not acceptable.'"

    Giuliani's former Deputy Mayor Joe Lhota rejected Whitman's claims.

    "As the incident commander, F.D.N.Y.’s response was exemplary. They coordinated, conducted and affected a multi-agency response in a timely, safe and efficient fashion," Lhota said.

    Despite initially refusing, Whitman agreed to testify about how her agency handled airquality issues at Ground Zero.

    It will be the first time a top federal official will publicly respond to questions about the thousands of Ground Zero workers and lower Manhattan residents who believe they were sickened by toxins in the dust.

    She will face Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), who has already slammed her as a liar for calling the air quality safe.

    "I don't think it's going to be any fun at all," she told Thompson. "[But] I'm tired of having to be on the defensive about something I think we did very well."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #260
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    9/11 workers from Moore film fear political attack

    Associated Press - June 23, 2007 5:55 PM ET

    NEW YORK (AP) - Three ground zero workers who accompanied filmmaker Michael Moore on a trip to Cuba for medical treatment featured in his new movie "Sicko" -- including one who now lives in Oklahoma -- are charging they are targets of the US government because of their participation.

    Forty-6-year-old Reggie Cervantes, a Brooklyn-based EMT who lives in Oklahoma, was among the first responders performing triage on the street below the burning World Trade Center towers.

    She now suffers from severe pulmonary diseases, as well as kidney and liver problems. She says workers' compensation and Social Security don't cover the medical tests she needs.

    She has no regrets about her Cuban excursion, where she says she saw nine specialists.

    Moore and the ailing 9/11 workers went to Cuba for treatment in March despite a US trade embargo restricting travel to the communist country.

    The US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control sent Moore a letter in May notifying him that he was under investigation for travel violations.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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