Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another dusting...

Within days of the World Trade Center collapse, someone ordered Environmental Protection Agency administrators to tell New Yorkers the air was safe; to reopen Wall Street, bring back its thousands of workers, and reopen school's - despite that private tests showed the air remained full of lead, asbestos, mercury, and benzene. According to documents forced out of the EPA by a Freedom of Information request, the agency's own tests agreed that the air in Lower Manhattan wasn't fit to breathe.

We heard about Cesar Borja, the clean-up worker who recently died of lung disease. In today's NY Times, we hear about the ordinary citizens who returned to live in lower Manhattan shortly after authorities stated it was safe to return.

The article focuses on the growing number of patients that are seen at the WTC Environmental Health Center at Bellevue Hospital. Many of these patients are complaining of asthma and GERD symptoms. They receive free care thanks to a grant from Mayor Bloomberg for $16 million.

Some people think that these patients are abusing the system and using free services for ailments that they would have developed regardless of their exposure to debris from 911. Residents were not allowed to return Downtown for a few weeks to months. For those residents who returned, could debris still be in the air? Wouldn't the wind and weather clear the area of dangerous aerosolized particles? Is this another exploitation of 911?

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