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Thread: A Fallen Hero - Video Inside

  1. #71
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    Jan 2005
    You mean like when she committed perjury before the 9/11 Commission?
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #72
    beltman713 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gold9472
    You mean like when she committed perjury before the 9/11 Commission?
    Yeah, something like that.

  3. #73
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    Jan 2005


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

  4. #74
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    Jan 2005
    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #75
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    Jan 2005
    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."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #76
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    Jan 2005
    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."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #77
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    Jan 2005
    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #78
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    Jan 2005
    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  9. #79
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    Jan 2005
    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #80
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    Jan 2005
    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.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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