The New 9/11 Casualties

Thanks to David for this submission:

After the World Trade Center fell, 40,000 rescue and cleanup workers spent months inhaling the toxic dust at ground zero. Many are now falling sick. Were they properly warned about the dangers?

What was in the air at ground zero?
When the towers came crashing down, the weight of the buildings pulverized everything inside—including thousands of tons of insulation, drywall, concrete, glass, plastics, 50,000 computers and other pieces of office equipment—into a fine powder. The toxic dust was laced with asbestos, mercury, silica, fiberglass, lead, PCBs, chromium, jet fuel, and other potentially hazardous materials, and for weeks, fires smoldered in the tangled wreckage, cooking and dispersing the poisons into the air. Scientists who’ve studied samples of the dust say that some of it was as toxic as drain cleaner. For months, firefighters, cops, construction workers, and volunteers inhaled these toxins while working on “the pile,” looking for survivors and carting away the tons of debris.

Didn’t they wear respirators?
Some did, but many took them off because they were hot and uncomfortable to wear. New York health officials say that no more than 60 percent of workers at ground zero wore respirators on any given day. It didn’t help that only seven days after the 9/11 attacks, then-Environmental Protection Agency chief Christie Todd Whitman—under White House pressure to get Manhattan’s financial district up and running—falsely announced that air tests at ground zero revealed nothing dangerous. “I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C., that the air is safe to breathe,” Whitman said at the time. Whitman recently testified at a House hearing that she meant the air in downtown Manhattan was safe for residents to breathe, not the air around the rubble at ground zero.

Did the workers think the air was safe?
Most simply didn’t give it much thought. Vinny Forras’ experience was typical. A volunteer firefighter from the New York City suburb of South Salem, Forras, 48, rushed to the World Trade Center on 9/11 and spent weeks working night and day at the pile. He began coughing and struggling for air by the second day but was given steroids and went back to work. Three months later, Forras—who used to run three miles several times a week—found that his lungs had deteriorated so badly that he became breathless just walking from his front door to his car. Today he depends on steroids and inhalers to breathe, and lives on disability payments from workers’ compensation and Social Security. “It’s very hard to see your own kids taking care of you,” Forras told USA Today. “We humbly did what we did. It was our job. But in 10, 15 years, we’ll be ghosts.”

Have scientists studied the workers?
Yes. It took five years, but doctors have definitively established a connection between working at ground zero and developing chronic respiratory diseases. A major study of 20,000 workers by Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York found that nearly 70 percent have experienced “new or substantially worsened” respiratory illnesses, including asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and pulmonary fibrosis, and that most were likely to have lifelong breathing problems. “You can’t be exposed to what these people were exposed to without it taking a toll,” says Dr. Stephen Levin, who took part in the Mount Sinai study. “To listen to how life has become for some patients, it’s absolutely horrifying.”

Have any of the affected people died?
Officially, only two. In April 2006, a New Jersey medical examiner concluded that the January 2006 death of retired police detective James Zadroga was “directly related” to his work at the site. He collapsed and died of respiratory failure four years after 9/11, while carrying a glass of warm milk to his 4-year-old daughter. And in May of this year, the New York City medical examiner ruled that Felicia Dunn-Jones, a 42-year-old lawyer whose office was a block from ground zero, also died from prolonged dust exposure. But advocacy groups, survivors, and some health experts believe the death toll is much higher and is sure to rise. Paramedic Deborah Reeve is one of the unofficial casualties; a healthy nonsmoker, she died of mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, after she spent months working around the dust-covered corpses of 9/11 victims at the city morgue. “My wife got killed on Sept. 11,” said her husband, David, “and she didn’t die until March 15, 2006.”

Is any help available for the sick workers?
Most rely on workers’ compensation and on whatever coverage they have through private insurance or Medicare. People injured or who lost loved ones in the attacks collected six- and seven-figure settlements from the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, but that fund wasn’t available for those who became sick months or years later. Congress is considering establishing a new fund for those victims. “These people went down there to help without thinking about their own safety—they’re heroes,” said Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. “It’s important that we treat them that way.”

Are they being treated like heroes?
Hardly. Many complain state and federal bureaucracies are challenging their claims that their health problems are related to working at ground zero. Officials say they are merely being prudent with taxpayers’ money and trying to ensure that only the deserving are compensated. Meanwhile, thousands have turned to the courts. “Every day, people come into my office who have trouble breathing,” says attorney David Worby, who has filed a class action suit on behalf of more than 8,000 ground zero workers. “If we don’t get these people the help and treatment they need now, more of them may die than died on 9/11.”

The Cancer Question
Respiratory illnesses may not be the only consequence of prolonged exposure to the toxins at ground zero. Dr. Robin Herbert, who heads the 9/11 health monitoring program at Mount Sinai Hospital, said there have been dozens of rare lymphatic and blood cancer cases among the rescue workers—a finding she described as “odd, unusual, and troubling.” Herbert says doctors suspect that an unprecedented “synergistic mix” of toxins at the site may have weakened immune systems and caused these cancers to develop rapidly. The class action lawsuit against the city and other defendants now includes 105 ground zero workers who have developed blood cancers. Medical experts say that after 9/11, a first wave of illness included acute respiratory problems, followed by a second wave of chronic lung diseases such as sarcoidosis. “We’re worried about a third wave,” Herbert said. So far, city health officials say they have seen no evidence of higher than usual cancer rates, though they do not rule out that possibility.

good piece, but garnished with disinfo, as usual...

This particular disinfo is so transparent, it's almost a good thing:

"The weight of the buildings pulverized everything inside—including thousands of tons of insulation, drywall, concrete, glass, plastics, 50,000 computers and other pieces of office equipment—into a fine powder."

Now how would it do that, I wonder? If you shot all that material out of a cannon and it hit a brick wall in mid-air, it wouldn't all turn into a fine powder. It would require an incredibly high impact velocity to completely powderize even concrete, let alone all the other materials. This is perhaps the single strongest piece of evidence for controlled demolition, and it's right out in the open. It's amazing how people can know about this and still believe the official story. It's precisely when I heard about the powderization several years ago that I stopped thinking MIHOP was a little too much to believe and remembered Sherlock Holmes' injunction, "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"