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Monday, August 28

The last thing we need is another disaster


SEPT. 19, 2001
"I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C., that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink." - Christie Whitman, U.S. EPA administrator

Oh I am so sick of reporting that rescue workers and New Yorkers are still sick and dying from breathing the air in the city after 9/11. But the situation is still raging on and again is in the Newsday. "...a U.S. Geological Survey study, which found that the dust was as caustic as drain cleaner. That study was not disclosed to the public until February 2002." Downtown workers in many cases did not wear respirators and OSHA rules were not enforced. The city knew that there would be trouble and had the risk assessed, knowing the shit would hit the fan and asked FEMA to cover the costs of claims that insurance wouldn't cover. Fat chance.

Back in April, according to this NY Times story, the debate was still raging about the fatal air in the city when a detective died most likely due to the air at the WTC after the attack. I blogged about it and linked to several other blog posts concerning the air quality and the coverup. A year ago in New York Magazine, when referring to Whitman's assurances that the air was safe in NYC after 9/11/01, said "the EPA still hadn’t completed testing for mercury, cadmium, lead, dioxin, PAHs, or PCBs," when the statement was issued. From the New York article:
Here, today, is what we know about the dust and air at ground zero: It contained glass shards, pulverized concrete, and many carcinogens, including hundreds of thousands of pounds of asbestos, tens of thousands of pounds of lead, mercury, cadmium, dioxins, PCBs, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. It also contained benzene. According to a study done by the U.S. Geological Survey, the dust was so caustic in places that its pH exceeded that of ammonia. Thomas Cahill, a scientist who analyzed the plumes from a rooftop one mile away, says that the levels of acids, insoluble particles, high-temperature organic materials, and metals were in most cases higher in very fine particles (which can slip deep into the lungs) than anyplace ever recorded on earth, including the oil fires of Kuwait.
With the air quality debate still raging on five years later, it's very likely that the levee issue in New Orleans will go on and on and on. Federal agencies, local agencies, state agencies... still all messed up. The Army Corps of Engineers are worried about the levees while FEMA says that the levees are storm ready. With all the money that was wasted by FEMA, they could have completely rebuilt the levees. It's no wonder that Iraq and Afghanistan are in chaos. Our government agencies don't know their asses from their elbows. God help us.

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