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Thread: A Fallen Hero - Video Inside

  1. #51
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    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."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #52
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #53
    AuGmENTor Guest
    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.

  4. #54
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    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?"
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #55
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    '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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #56
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #57
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

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

  8. #58
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  9. #59
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    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."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #60
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    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:

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

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