When the towers came down, thousands of rescuers and helpers responded from all over North America. Many came without the permission or knowledge of their respective Departments. I wonder how this will affect them if they suffer the same fate?
When the towers came down, thousands of rescuers and helpers responded from all over North America. Many came without the permission or knowledge of their respective Departments. I wonder how this will affect them if they suffer the same fate?
July 23, 2006 -- 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 Bloombag, 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.
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 Bloombag. As the 108th mayor of the City of New York, Bloombag 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 Bloombag 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.
IMHO, this was all about money. There is no way that the federal, state, and city government did not know about the levels of dangerous s**t down there. Once the towers fell, some politicians main priority was to get people to "resume life as normal." They didn't want lower Manhattan to become a ghost town so they lied to everyone about the quality of the air. Who knows how many lives have been lost since then due to WTC related illnesses. The firefighters are being monitored (rightfully so) and they all had physicals prior to 9/11 as a baseline. These were people in good to excellent physical condition and now some of them have the lungs of the elderly. If you or I went out and spewed chemicals into the street and caused the death or serious injury to thousands, our *****es would be in prison. As for Christie Todd Whitman, she is a MUTT in my eyes but I also think she was a puppet. The decision to lie about the air samples came from a much higher level probably all in the name of "national security."
My thoughts and prayers are with all of the 9/11 survivors, emergency services personnel that responded, and residents that were exposed to this toxic mix.
Breathing WTC toxins killed Firefighter Stephen Johnson. Michelle Godbee and children Imani (l.) and Kai lost husband and father James Godbee to WTC illness. Ground Zero poisons took Debbie Reeve from husband David and children Elizabeth and Mark.
Stephen Johnson served New York with valor for 21 years as a firefighter on the nation's preeminent force. He was a man who put the safety of others above his own. He loved the work - and it cost him his life.
On Aug. 6, 2004, Stephen Johnson died from service in the line of duty at age 47. Yet the rolls of honor do not bear his name, nor has the mayor or the fire commissioner stood in public tribute to this fallen hero.
For Stephen Johnson is a forgotten victim of 9/11.
The official record carries Johnson as a retired firefighter who passed away after a heart attack and a bout with a lung ailment two years after he left the force. This is because, callously and in disregard of overwhelming evidence, the City of New York has refused to acknowledge even the likelihood that working around the smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center proved fatal to anyone.
But that is precisely what killed Johnson, whose death stands as the earliest Ground Zero fatality from disease for which cause and effect has been established.
And it is precisely what killed Police Officer James Godbee.
And it is precisely what killed Detective James Zadroga.
And it is precisely what killed Emergency Medical Service Paramedic Debbie Reeve.
They were among the 40,000 people who pulled together in the drive to restore New York's footing after 9/11. Today, more than 12,000 members of that brave army are ill because they were exposed to the toxic cloud that hovered over what became known as The Pile.
Officials falsely assured them the air was safe. Most were not provided with or did not wear respiratory protection.
The vast majority of the sick suffered damage to their respiratory tracts from breathing air thick with particles, including concrete dust, pulverized glass and asbestos. The materials, in effect, burned the air passages, causing inflamed sinuses, bronchitis and reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, or RADS, an irritant-induced asthma.
A smaller number of Ground Zero responders contracted even more serious illnesses, and some died. How many developed their conditions as a consequence of working at The Pile cannot now be established, and medical experts are skeptical about proving a causal relationship in most cases.
But there can be no reasonable doubt that Ground Zero service cost Johnson, Godbee, Zadroga and Reeve their lives. Where Johnson and Reeve are concerned, the FDNY's top physicians, Drs. Kerry Kelly and David Prezant, say they believe this is so. The evidence is just as strong for Godbee and Zadroga.
"How else do you account for it?" Kelly said, referring to Reeve's death.
It is long past time to set the record straight about fatalities among the forgotten victims of 9/11 — to honor those who have died, to keep faith with history and to provide the sick with the fullest information.
It's time for Mayor Bloomberg to recognize Johnson, Godbee, Zadroga and Reeve as heroes who died from illnesses sustained in the line of duty, and to express New York's gratitude to their loved ones.
It's time for the mayor, upon whom we have called to lead a campaign for all forgotten victims of 9/11, to declare that New York owes the Johnson, Godbee, Zadroga and Reeve families every possible benefit — and to order city lawyers to stop unconscionably fighting against giving the families their due.
It's time to confront what happened to Johnson, Godbee, Zadroga and Reeve in the knowledge that medical experts say others may well develop serious, even fatal, illnesses as the 9/11 health disaster unfolds. Let them not be forgotten, too.
Heroism came naturally to Stephen Johnson — as Linda Kalodner learned firsthand.
On March 11, 1999, Kalodner was the mother of 6-month-old twins, and she and the babies were trapped by a fire on the ninth floor of a Manhattan building. Up a fully extended tower ladder came Johnson and his partner Matt Barnes.
Strapped to the top of the aerial, arms and legs stretched as far as possible, Barnes took the infants from Kalodner and passed them to Johnson, who carried the babies to safety. The partners were feted at City Hall, and the Daily News named Barnes its Hero of the Month. Less than two years later, Barnes was killed on 9/11 and Johnson went to work at Ground Zero, there when the toxic cloud was thickest, there when the job required wading in dust up to his knees. He was a big, strapping guy, fit and healthy, and his every breath moved him closer to death.
In April 2002, still healthy, Johnson retired from a job that was a joy of his life. "Next to me, it was the only other thing he loved," said his widow, Rose.
Early in 2004, Johnson became short of breath while shoveling snow. Over the next few weeks, his shortness of breath worsened. That March, he went to a hospital, where doctors feared he was suffering a heart attack. That wasn't the case, and that May he was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease, or ILD.
Caused by inhaling irritants, ILD is a rare condition found, for example, in miners who work amid coal dust. The presence of particles in the lung provokes the body to try to combat them as it would fight a germ. The immune system surrounds the particles with cells that build up into nodules known as granulomas. Granulomas retard breathing, can cause lesions and lead to irreversible scarring, called fibrosis, on oxygen-extracting tissues.
By the time Johnson was diagnosed, 80% of his lungs had been destroyed. He required oxygen 24 hours a day, and joined the waiting list for a lung transplant. But he never got that far. Suffocating, Johnson suffered a fatal heart attack.
After 15 years of marriage, Rose Johnson lives by herself in Queens. She shies from criticizing city officials for their failure to honor her husband as the first Ground Zero responder to die from an illness contracted there. Nor does she complain that, until today, the circumstances of her husband's illness and death have never been reported. But the pain is obvious in her voice when she recounts her memories of his loss. Only when she points out that the Bravest at her local firehouse give her all the support she asks for does her voice brighten.
Rose Johnson has her husband's pension, but not the full-salary death benefit given to the widows of firefighters who die in the line of duty. Spouses of retirees are not eligible.
James Godbee was the next responder to die after contracting an interstitial lung disease.
A 19-year NYPD veteran and father of two, Godbee worked at Ground Zero for 12 to 15 hours a day for 80 days from Sept. 13, 2001, to June 2002. Never did he wear respiratory equipment.
In November 2003, Godbee developed a cough, shortness of breath, joint pains, fever, weight loss and swelling in his salivary and tear glands. Based on a chest X-ray three months later, his doctors suspected sarcoidosis, a form of ILD.
Dr. Frank Accera, a pulmonary specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center, performed a biopsy, during which Godbee's lung collapsed. The test confirmed the diagnosis.
Sarcoidosis is believed to be caused by contact with irritating foreign substances, but no irritant has ever been identified as its trigger. In addition to the lungs, the illness attacks organs such as the heart, skin and kidneys. Treatable and rarely fatal, sarcoidosis can lead to "progressive multi-organ failure in an unfortunate minority" of cases, according to a 1997 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
High dosages of a steroid got Godbee's symptoms under control, but the drug made him sick to his stomach. Over the next seven months, Godbee's lung distress fluctuated as he tried to wean off the steroid, and, feeling generally better, he stopped seeing Accera in October 2004.
Godbee's wife, Michelle, a school guidance counselor, said her husband continued to work. On Dec. 30, 2004, he felt "a little down, a little sick," but he nonetheless took the couple's daughter to a Jim Carrey movie, Michelle Godbee said. At 9:45, he returned to the family's apartment in Manhattan's Stuyvesant Town, gave his daughter "a long hug good night," and minutes later suffered a seizure.
"I called 911. They told me to put him on the floor," Michelle Godbee said. "I heard his lungs go down. He was pronounced DOA at the hospital."
James Godbee was 44. An autopsy found granuloma in his lungs, colon and heart. In his report on the case, Accera wrote: "It is with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that I conclude that Mr. Godbee's exposure to and inhalation of the toxic materials present at the WTC site after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, either caused or aggravated his sarcoidosis and ultimately caused his death."
Regardless, the NYPD pension board ruled Godbee had not contracted sarcoidosis in the line of duty, stating the condition is "not known to be related to employment in the police force." The board denied his family the enhanced benefits afforded to cops who die in the line of duty. When Michelle Godbee took the matter to court, city lawyers fought her petition — even barring FDNY doctors, experts in sarcoidosis, from testifying. A judge returned the matter to the board for further review.
On Jan. 5 of this year, homicide Detective James Zadroga became the third responder to succumb to interstitial lung disease.
On the force for six years, Zadroga was inside 7 World Trade Center as the building began to collapse. He escaped and returned to Ground Zero, spending more than 450 hours there and at the Staten Island landfill, where the rubble from the Trade Center was carted. He wore only a paper mask.
Within a few weeks, Zadroga began to cough. Over the next months, the formerly healthy 29-year-old developed severe shortness of breath, acid reflux and sleep apnea. He began passing out and, coughing incessantly, was unable to walk more than 100 feet without gasping.
Zadroga's downward spiral forced him onto extended sick leave. By 2003, he required oxygen 24 hours a day. He was rejected three times for a line-of-duty disability pension; the retirement system's medical board said he hadn't proven a connection between his Ground Zero work and his illness.
Only on Zadroga's fourth appeal did the doctors come around. He retired Nov. 1, 2004. Fourteen months later, with his 4-year-old daughter Tylerann asleep by his side, Zadroga died at age 34. He was a widower with $50,000 in medical bills. Grandparents took custody of the orphaned Tylerann.
The coroner's report listed the cause of death as "granulomatous pneumonitis."
"It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident," wrote Ocean County, N.J., pathologist Dr. Gerard Breton. His report, often cited as the first official confirmation that service on The Pile had proven fatal, was dismissed by city officials as inconclusive.
Debbie Reeve joined the EMS in 1989, working first as an emergency medical technician and then as a paramedic. Assigned to a haz-mat unit, she spent more than six months collecting human remains from The Pile and staffing a Ground Zero morgue.
Early in 2004, Reeve developed a cough and shortness of breath after exertion. Her doctor diagnosed flu and pneumonia and prescribed antibiotics that proved useless. Out of sick time, she asked for clearance to return to work, which required a chest X-ray because of her haz-mat status. The X-ray led to the discovery of mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos.
From late 2004 until late 2005, Reeve underwent chemotherapy, followed by removal of her right lung and part of her diaphragm. She had radiation and was declared cancer-free.
Six weeks later, Reeve starting having pain in her leg and hip, and X-rays showed mottling in her thigh bones — a sign the cancer had returned. In January 2006, doctors removed infected marrow from her legs, but a month later they found cancer in her back, lung and spine.
On March 15, Reeve died at age 41, leaving an 11-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son.
Before her death, Reeve had become the first WTC responder to be granted a three-quarters disability pension under a special bill signed in Albany, but she died before receiving a single check. Her husband, David, also an FDNY paramedic, is now battling for workers' compensation coverage of $90,000 in medical bills. Opposing him is the city Law Department, where attorneys have argued both that he didn't file his claim within a required deadline and that there's no proof Reeve developed mesothelioma from working at Ground Zero.
Johnson, Godbee, Zadroga and Reeve are but four of the 9/11 responders who have suffered serious illnesses. David Worby, a lawyer waging a suit on behalf of 8,000 WTC responders and their survivors, says, for example, that more than 170 of his clients have developed cancers and 57 have died.
Whether those cancers trace to Ground Zero is a matter of conjecture, but fear is widespread among those who served. This is understandable. What is not understandable has been the refusal of city officials to admit even a probability that 9/11 service led to any death.
Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden exemplified the attitude when he said he would be "surprised" if Zadroga's suffocation could be conclusively linked to particles breathed in at Ground Zero. The coroner, he said, had not tested the materials in Zadroga's lungs to see if they matched exactly with substances at The Pile.
True enough, but that hypertechnicality is far outweighed by the body of evidence.
Johnson, Godbee, Zadroga and Reeve were healthy, relatively young nonsmokers before they spent hundreds of hours in the poisonous cloud at The Pile.
They contracted diseases triggered by inhaling substances that irritate the lungs.
Other 9/11 responders came down with the same rare illness, interstitial lung disease, suffered by Johnson, Zadroga and Godbee and survived. Two firefighters and a civilian worker got the type of ILD that struck Johnson and Zadroga; 20 firefighters got the variation, sarcoidosis, that felled Godbee. Among the survivors, the conditions are generally accepted as being caused by WTC toxins.
Mesothelioma, Reeve's cancer, is found overwhelmingly in people who have breathed in asbestos. What's surprising is only the speed with which the disease came on after Reeve was exposed, said the FDNY's Kelly.
Stephen Johnson, James Godbee, James Zadroga and Debbie Reeve died because they served New York in a time of need. Then they were forgotten. Now Mayor Bloomberg must give them the honor they deserve.
July 24, 2006 -- The number of 9/11 legal actions filed against the city have tripled in the last year - with more World Trade Center emergency responders claiming that toxic air at Ground Zero has made them ill, The Post has learned. A staggering 1,122 notices of claim were filed against the city for the 2006 fiscal year, which ended June 30, Comptroller William Thompson's office reported. There were just 361 cases filed during the same period in fiscal 2005, meaning that the number of claims skyrocketed 311 percent. The Comptroller's Office monitors notices of claims, which potential plaintiffs are required to file before suing the city. The number of lawsuits is up, too. Plaintiffs filed 317 suits related to toxic substances at the WTC site in fiscal 2006 - up from 111 a year earlier, the city Law Department reported. That's a 286 percent increase. Many of the plaintiffs are joining a 9/11 class-action negligence suit in Manhattan federal court that alleges the city failed to protect them from hazardous conditions at Ground Zero. An attorney in the class-action suit confirmed that he's filed more claims on behalf of sick cops, firefighters and other responders who toiled at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11. "It's an alarming increase in the number of injuries from the World Trade Center exposure," said Paul Napoli of Worby Groner Edelman Napoli & Bern. "The illnesses are more serious. These people are getting worse." Potential Plaintiffs have 455 days to sue after being diagnosed with an illness. About 300 current plaintiffs have cancer, and at least 35 have died. "There will continue to be a trend upward," Napoli said. About 6,000 plaintiffs are already part of the litigation, said David Worby, another lawyer in the case. He expects that number to soar to 8,000. Firefighter Ed Kennedy is one of the plaintiffs. "There's something wrong with my lungs," said Kennedy, who got buried under a car when the first tower fell. "I can't run up and down the stairs. I'm wheezing every night. I'm worried down the road what's going to happen to me." The city downplayed the rise in legal actions. "An increase in claims or lawsuits does not necessarily mean an increase in illnesses relating to World Trade Center work," said Kenneth Becker, chief of the Law Department's World Trade Center Unit. The city is fighting to have the negligence case dismissed, arguing that it is immune from liability in a national catastrophe and that it did all it could to protect workers at Ground Zero. http://www.nypost.com/photos/zgraphic07242006004.jpg The city has received $1 billion in federal funds to cover 9/11 litigation claims.
damn..........how could it come to this??? :mad: those people put their lives on the line to help fellow brothers and sisters and they are slowly dying from diseases all because some politics decided to lie just so they could 'keep everyone calm'. well, now everybody is anything BUT calm....and nobody should be 'punished' like that for helping people at 9/11 :(
my heart goes out to all of the people effected by those diseases, as well as their families. my heart also goes out to the families of those who have moved on to a better place because of it......rest in piece brothers and sisters....
E40, I was surprised last night and tonight by the NYC media coverage this issue is FINALLY receiving. I understand the PD/ FD are now compiling detailed lists of those MOS who responded? The city's response to this is pathetic- it all comes down to the almighty dollar. Classify all of these and subsequent deaths as line-of-duty, end of issue. As an eerie post-script, I distinctly recall getting on a bus with FDNY guys as we were leaving the site on Thurs night/ Fri Morning 7-13/14-01. One of the crusty, senior guys sitting on the bus turned to his partner and calmly said, "You know, we're all going to get cancer from this #%*." I couldn't believe how calm he was- not angry, not griping, just matter-of-fact. I have never forgotten that, and it is sadly coming true in the forms of these respiratory ailments.
How long will the city and others continue to ignore the 5,000 pound gorilla sitting in the corner?
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 Bloombag, 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. Bloombag promised to look into whether the city stiffed its 9/11 heroes. 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 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 Bloombag 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?"
Where are you getting this info?
I'd like to know, because the public needs to know about this. Naturally, if you post this in a firefighter forum, we're gonna get ****ed that the city is denying claims of ill firefighters. I'm just wondering if there is a public newspaper or magazine that is spreading this info to the voters and taxpayers of New York, because if they still give a damn, they could do more than a few firefighters on a website. (Though if you need a petition signed, I'll go get my pen)
343 + ?
A fair amount of the information posted has come from the NY Daily News. They have done a series of articles this month exposing the poor treatment of the emergency responders who were at the WTC on 9/11 and for the many months afterward. The Daily News is one of the most popular NY papers so I am sure people are reading about it now. What will be done about this disgusting situation involving all levels of government is the big question.
2002 exec order let EPA bury info on air hazards
July 28, 2006 -- 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 Bloombag and city officials of stiffing 12,000 ailing Ground Zero workers.
Bloombag 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.
July 28, 2006 -- Toiling deep in the bowels of Ground Zero, Firefighter Kevin Delano suspected he was breathing in poison but continued hunting for bodies anyway. Now there's more proof the asthma that has made it impossible for the 52-year-old to cross his lawn without wheezing was caused by the deadly dust he inhaled. A soon-to-be-published study co-authored by David Prezant, the Fire Department's deputy chief medical officer, has found that FDNY rescuers lost the equivalent of 12 years of lung function because of exposure to toxic dust. "We knew it was bad, we knew it was bad from the first day," said Delano, who had to retire from the FDNY after 9/11 and also has been battling leukemia. "This just proves it." Prodded by a series of hard-hitting Daily News editorials that described the plight of 12,000 ailing Ground Zero workers, Mayor Bloomberg has promised to look into whether the city has stiffed its 9/11 heroes. But Bloomberg has refused, thus far, 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. The analysis of fire and Emergency Medical Technician workers conducted by the FDNY and Montefiore Medical Center-Albert Einstein College of Medicine could make Bloomberg reconsider his position. It found that firefighters in The Pit suffered a loss of lung power "equal to that of 12 years of age-related decline." "Those who had more exposure, those who arrived earlier, had a more severe loss," said Montefiore's Dr. Gisela Banauch, also a co-author of the study, parts of which were released in May and all of which will be published next week in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. "We don't know if these rescue persons will recover and continue to lose their function at a normal pace or lose at a faster pace than a normal pace," Banauch added. Ironworker Joseph Libretti, 48, is one of the many rescuers with scarred lungs. He lost his brother, Firefighter Daniel Libretti, when the north tower collapsed. He then lost his health looking amid the rubble for the remains of his brother and countless others. "Until the Daily News came with a list of toxins, they went around and told us everything was fine," Libretti said, referring to post-9/11 columns by Juan Gonzalez, one of the first to sound the alarm about toxic air. "It wasn't just that they lied," Libretti added. "They allowed that lie to fester." Every breath is now an ordeal for Tarnisa Moore, a 54-year-old grandmother of four who was a supervisor at the Marriott Hotel at the World Trade Center. "We were dying and the government was talking about not scaring people," said Moore, who suffers from asthma, lung disease and other ailments. "It was a coverup."
July 30, 2006 -- The 9-11-01 terrorist attacks were so traumatic that it turned more of our dreams into nightmares, a new study shows. (no sh1t) The report analyzed the dreams of 44 people, all longtime dream chroniclers from across the U.S. The post-9/11 dreams "did contain more references to attacks, and they were scored as more nightmare-like," said researcher Ernest Hartmann, a professor of psychiatry at the Tufts University School of Medicine. "There was a little more fear and vulnerability than before." Hartmann said the dreams did not contain literal images of buildings falling or planes crashing. But "the dream imagery," he added, "is always stranger after the trauma."
They were among the 40,000 who stepped forward for New York and America after 9-11-01, and they speak here of the price they paid for serving. Their stories are not unusual. No, they are typical among the more than 12,000 men and women who were sickened by breathing the toxic cloud that shrouded Ground Zero. They tell of damaged lungs and psyches, of fears of worse to come and of beliefs that the cloud has brought on cancers and may bring death. They feel betrayed by a government that said the air was safe and cast aside by officials who failed to address the sweeping nature of the resulting epidemic. Above all, these personal accounts stand as an indictment of a neglectful city and country, which must now right the terrible wrong of forgetting those who did the extraordinary at great personal cost.
A smell you never forget
For 20 years, I served as a detective with the New York Police Department, and I retire tomorrow at half pay without medical disability. I can still smell the debris of the Fresh Kills landfill. After you stepped off the bus for your 12-hour shift, the stench was just enormous, and as you walked around, you would see bubbling whirlpools. Fifteen minutes in, I would have splitting headaches. I'd go to the tents, where conveyer belts would bring debris to pick through for human remains. For years after, I had headaches, and I still have bloody noses and sinus problems. I never complained, or sued, nor will I, but in case I die, I've kept everything since that day, every news article, so maybe my two kids will get some compensation for my life.
Steve Heberling, 44, Brewster, N.Y.
'Coughing up blood'
I was at the north tower as an Emergency Medical Services paramedic lieutenant when it collapsed. We ran up West St. We started setting up forward triage, and we treated people for the first three or four hours. When 7 World Trade Center came down, we started to treat sick responders. We were on site until 9 a.m. the next day. The air was indescribable. We worked there until Oct. 1. You couldn't eat anything that wasn't covered with dust. We had paper masks, but they were no good. Condensation from breathing turned the mask into mud. It was worse to breathe with it on. We got respirators about a week into it, but they were not fit-tested, they just came in boxes and we grabbed one that might fit. I worked more than 300 hours at Ground Zero. I considered it a thank you to America, a chance to do something for my country and for my fellow New Yorkers and for my co-workers who were buried in the rubble. We never expected anything to go wrong. Every day we were told the air was safe to breathe. Working down there as a team gave us healing. We could feel all the angels, all the people who had died there. I started coughing up black mucus, and there was black stuff coming out my ears and when I blew my nose. In October 2001, I started coughing up blood clots and went to the FDNY Bureau of Health Services. They gave me an inhaler and said they would monitor it. I was also seeing my own doctor, who diagnosed reactive airways distress syndrome. I would get a sinus infection every six to eight weeks. I also got urinary tract infections. I also had post-traumatic stress syndrome. In 2003, I was diagnosed with acid reflux. I had a lump in my throat and couldn't swallow. I used prednisone for my lungs. A few years before 9/11, I had contracted hepatitis C on the job. The FDNY did physicals in December 2001, and my liver values were normal. But they started increasing. In 2004, I had a liver biopsy, and the hepatitis was at stage 2. I was taking interferon and ribovirin, but the interferon seemed to make my lung condition worse. Every time I went to the pulmonologist, my vital function was decreasing. Now I'm down to 58% lung capacity. Because of the hepatitis C, nothing was working for me. The prednisone was increasing my hepatitis C viral load so I can't treat my lungs, which have scarring. I had to choose which to aggressively treat. I decided to treat the hepatitis C because that can affect other organs. I'm looking at 72 weeks of treatment. There's a 50% chance of eliminating the virus, then the options are interferon to keep liver damage from progressing, probably for the rest of my life. Last week, I was granted a three-quarters disability pension based on the hepatitis C.
Denise Bellingham, 57, Medford, L.I.
Leaving my kids
I was at the site as a volunteer EMT for three days - on 9/11, and then on the 13th and 14th. I was working triage from a deli as WTC 7 burned and fell. Going down there that morning, I left my two children at home. At the time, they thought I was dead, but when you have a job you are trained to do, and you do it well, then you just go do it. And now, I've been officially disabled since 2003. I have acid reflux, migraine and sinus headaches, asthma, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, shingles and flashbacks, but no health coverage because I was a volunteer. I don't have lung disease from smoking. I don't have lung disease from a meth lab. I don't have it from doing something I shouldn't have been doing. I have it from the World Trade Center. What nobody's talking about is the next time something happens. You can't just run into buildings anymore. Those who did are on Death Row and being punished for what we did.
Reggie Cervantes, 45, Kansas City, Kan.
Running out of time
As an American, as a New Yorker, I thought I had an obligation to help. Somebody demolishes a building in my city, it's my duty to clean it up. I'm a union worker. But now, I'm living through a nightmare. The city employees got taken care of, but we didn't get anything. Each time I go to Mount Sinai Medical Center, I lose more of my lung. The first time, it was 21% gone. The next, 33%. Now they say I've lost 44%. I can't even walk up a flight of stairs. I've got three kids and can't afford to take time off work, but I'm worried about the future, about my wife and my children. The lung specialist I went to couldn't diagnose my problem. He didn't know what to say to me, except to guarantee that in 10 years I wouldn't be walking around.
Daniel Arrigo, 51, Staten Island
I worked more than 100 hours doing search and recovery as a police officer. I was in the lobby when the building started collapsing, and I was there through the end of the cleanup. Now I have post-traumatic stress disorder. I've got acid reflux. I've got asthma and upper-respiratory infections. I can't go near large buildings anymore. The Police Medical Board, four times now, denies medical liability. They say my diseases are not related to the World Trade Center, or that my paperwork isn't good enough, or that I need to go to their doctors instead of mine. I just want to be home with my kids. The money doesn't matter now. I'm never responding to a terrorist attack again: I'm just going to go right home with my wife and kids.
Robert Curcio, 34, Staten Island
Whitman's people lied
When we went out to The Pile, initially all we got was a Home Depot-type dust mask. Eventually, they gave us sturdier ones. I worked there from 9/11 until May as an EMS lieutenant and put in well over 100 hours. Two years later, in March 2004, I had my first real asthma attack. That same month, I was forced into the process of retirement. Christie Whitman's EPA people lied: They said the air was safe. Eventually, I got three-quarters disability, but the city had played these little technicalities. The lawyer for the city said that because the department hadn't filed a form, there was no proof that the accident I was claiming for had actually occurred. The judge had to instruct the lawyer for the city that it can be taken for a given that 9/11 had happened. Because I did my duty on 9/11 and in the recovery operations, I'm now totally and permanently disabled.
William Gleeson, 45, Hicksville, L.I.
An incurable disease
On 9/11, I was a captain in the NYPD. I was home with my family when the attack came, and as the first tower fell, I left my pregnant wife and 3-year-old daughter. Both cried, pleading for me not to leave. I went with only one request to the city: Take care of my family. I retired in 2004 at the age of 42, believing myself healthy. Within nine months, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which is caused by asbestos, smoldering steel and benzene, all present at Ground Zero. Since then, most of my time has been spent at Sloan-Kettering, getting stem-cell transplants and chemotherapy. And now, after 20 years of service, I'm left with a half-pay pension and little more than an incurable, life-threatening disease and partial paralysis in both hands. Yet not a single city, state or federal agency will acknowledge the air at Ground Zero might be a problem.
Patrick DeSarlo, 44, New City, N.Y.
I volunteered first from the Red Cross then later on with the Salvation Army, working 12-hour shifts with no protection. While most of my duties left me inside, I was exposed to the air going between buildings and as I brought coffee and warm clothes to the men on The Pile. Ever since, I've had chronic sinus infections, and many other volunteers have worse. We weren't paid workers, so we can't retire or go on disability, and there's no way to pay our medical bills. We gladly did what we did - but we are now forgotten.
Kathy Davy, 45, Manhattan
This is one time I wish I had been WRONG :(Quote:
Originally Posted by NYSmokey
August 2, 2006 -- Respiratory function has been so severely compromised in some World Trade Center rescuers that even as the fifth anniversary of the attack approaches, experts are reporting a dramatic aging effect in the lungs of firefighters and others. While some first responders have regained near-normal lung capacity, others have been forced into retirement because of persistent pulmonary disorders typified by asthma-like symptoms and a characteristic World Trade Center cough. An analysis of New York City firefighters and other responders exposed to World Trade Center dust found that rescuers experienced a decrease in lung function equivalent to more than a decade of age-related decline in the first year following the 9-11-01 attacks. Conducted by lung specialists at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, the research indicates that for those hardest hit, breathing disorders remain chronic and may progress to the type of damage seen in people sickened by decades of smoking. "The aging portion of the study was used as a convenient yardstick to make understandable the drop in lung function that we found," said Dr. Gisela Banauch, a Montefiore pulmonologist. She and colleagues report their study today in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. They analyzed lung function tests of 12,079 New York Fire Department members and other rescue workers, most of whom were at Ground Zero during or immediately after the World Trade Center collapse. For those first to arrive, .exposure was worst. Still, a dramatic aging of the lungs -- equivalent to a 12-year loss of lung function -- is an unusual finding, said Dr. Ashok Karnik, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. Karnik works in collaboration with researchers at Stony Brook University Hospital and The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, monitoring patients exposed to Ground Zero debris. "I can't say we have found anything equivalent to 12 years of age-related decline," Karnik said. "Some patients do suffer from upper respiratory problems and asthma-like symptoms. For some patients' symptoms are persistent, but for many others, symptoms have decreased over time." Karnik suggested Banauch may have treated patients who had longer exposures to the dust than those in his program. Banauch used a measure called FEV-1, which stands for forced expiratory volume and is a standard test administered by pulmonologists. "This is a basic measure of lung function. When we want to determine if a patient has moderate or severe lung disease we talk in terms of FEV-1," said Dr. Stuart Garay, a clinical professor of pulmonology at NYU Medical Center in Manhattan who also treats patients for respiratory problems caused by World Trade Center dust. "For every year we live, the normal individual loses 30 milliliters" in lung function, Garay said. "That's really a small amount. So you can live into your 80s and 90s without losing much lung function. A smoker by comparison will lose 60 or 70 milliliters a year. So by the time these individuals are 50 years old they're short of breath." Banauch found responders with the worst exposures lost a staggering 372 milliliters within the first year after the attack. She theorizes that for the most disabled, the loss of function ultimately could lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, often diagnosed in smokers. She cites pulverized concrete, which becomes alkaline when inhaled as a powder, as the culprit that seared lungs. Richard Picciotto, 55, a former FDNY chief who participated in Banauch's research, said his exposure to World Trade Center debris has had an adverse effect on his pulmonary function. He has World Trade Center cough. "I was taking medication for the first year and half to two years -- inhalers and stuff like that -- but I've kind of weaned myself off of them," said Picciotto, who retired from FDNY in 2003 because of other .injuries sustained on 9-11-01.
Study Finds 9/11 Responders Suffer From Rapid Lung Aging
August 3, 2006 – Members of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) Local 854 and the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) Local 94 who worked at Ground Zero during and in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, have lost the equivalent of 12 years of lung capacity, according to study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Lung specialists at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx analyzed lung function tests of 12,079 New York City fire fighters and other rescue workers. Using an FEV-1 (Forced Expiratory Volume) to measure lung function, doctors found that in the worst exposures, first responders lost 372 milliliters of lung function.
The average individual loses 30 milliliters annually and smokers lose 70 milliliters. Specialists indicate that many fire fighters could suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by a narrowing of the lung’s airways that makes breathing more difficult.
“As frontline defenders, our members in New York City, as well as those who responded, suffered dangerous exposures with significant health consequences of epic proportions,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “Immediate action must be taken to ensure that our first responders continue with medical attention, as well as the job benefit protections they need and deserve.”
“With so many of our members exposed to hundreds of chemicals and toxins, this study confirms what we have said all along -- the danger for contracting debilitating lung ailments is extremely high,” says Pete Gorman, president of Local 854. “This study illustrates the importance of long-term medical monitoring and health care. Our members need lung protections.”
More than 500 Local 854 and 94 members have been issued mandatory retirements because of 9/11 lung ailments. In addition, at least 200 others have been deemed by FDNY doctors to be too permanently disabled to continue working as fire fighters. Yet the city will not let them retire but have relegated them to light duty.
As for the future health of New York fire fighters, the Montefiore Medical Center doctors don’t know. In their research, they were unable to determine whether lung function would continue to deteriorate or whether some fire fighter lung damage might heal.
“Most 9/11 veteran fire fighters wonder if their health will hold up and the harm it may cause their family,” says Steve Cassidy, president of Local 94. “This concern is only further complicated by a lack of clarity about the city’s position relating to the protection of fire fighters who put their lives and their health on the line during and in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
“We need to support the World Trade Center Presumptive Death Benefit bill, which provides accidental death benefits to 9/11 rescuers should they succumb to disease resulting from their work at the World Trade Center site,” says Cassidy.
“The unsure future of our fire fighters is why long-term medical monitoring and health care is so important for our members,” says Gorman. “There is federal legislation that calls for it, but every year, our New York congressional delegation must fight to get money appropriated.”
“If we won’t take care of these first responders, what message does that send to future fire fighters in the next major catastrophe?” asks Cassidy. “Fire fighters and first responders need to know that they and their families will be protected should they become injured or killed while saving and protecting New Yorkers.”
From the NY Daily News www.nydailynews.com
Toxins on roof halt razing of bank
BY GREG B. SMITH
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
State officials temporarily halted demolition of the former Deutsche Bank tower at Ground Zero this week after high levels of toxic dust were detected on the roof, they revealed yesterday.
The suspension of work was the second time the demolition had been stopped at the 130 Liberty St. tower, which was ripped open and clogged with toxins when the twin towers collapsed on 9/11.
Lower Manhattan Development Corp. officials said they had suspended work Thursday after lab results from an air monitoring station on the tower's roof revealed the release of unacceptable levels of silica July 28.
The Environmental Protection Agency said the high levels of silica showed up in a test on the northeastern corner of the roof while workers were removing roofing material.
The state restarted the work yesterday when officials decided that wetting the roof could contain the dust.
Nearby tenants and homeowners have been concerned for years about the potential release of toxic dust during the tower's demolition.
Several residents were furious yesterday that the work shutdown came a week after the silica was discovered.
"That's not very protective," said Kim Flynn, community advocate with 9/11 Environmental Action.
EPA spokeswoman Mary Mears said the delay was caused by the time that is required for the lab to obtain and confirm the test results.
Mike wants proof 9/11 made 'em ill
Doesn't support benefits bill
BY JOE MAHONEY, ERNIE NASPRETTO and FRANK LOMBARDI
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Mayor Bloomberg took a hard line yesterday on paying line-of-duty death benefits for 9/11 responders who die years after their work at Ground Zero - insisting that a "connection" be established between their rescue work and their eventual deaths.
"People, I think, all agree we should help those who stood up there and helped, but you have to make sure there is a connection between what they did and what happened," he said on his WABC-AM radio show.
It was his first public comment opposing a controversial 9/11 death-benefits bill now awaiting Gov. Pataki's signature. Aides to the mayor previously urged Pataki to veto the bill, contending it would cost the city between $5 million and $10 million a year.
The measure calls for paying pension benefits worth three-quarters of a regular salary to the families of certain 9/11 responders after their deaths.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) scolded the mayor for opposing the death-benefits bill.
Silver sent a letter to Pataki stating that he was "extremely distressed" the mayor was leaning on the governor to veto the legislation.
"His call for you to veto the legislation is deeply troubling, and I urge you to consider those heroes and their families who would be devastated if you chose to deny them those rightful benefits," Silver wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily News.
Pataki has said he is "inclined" to sign the bill. He has until Wednesday to act.
Many of the cops, firefighters and city workers who spent weeks and months at Ground Zero during the rescue and recovery stages have complained of health ailments they attribute to their 9/11 work.
The contested death-benefits bill was prompted by the death in January of James Zadroga, a retired city detective who had spent more than 450 hours at Ground Zero while with the NYPD. He later developed respiratory ailments and died at the age of 34, just 14 months after retiring on a special 9/11 disability pension.
The autopsy report on Zadroga's death found "with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident."
"Everyone wants to take a bow, but nobody wants to do anything," said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association.
Originally published on August 12, 2006
Mayor Bloomturd it's called a physical exam prior to 9/11. I'm sure that all of the emergency services personnel had them and the firefighters most likely had pulmonary function tests as part of their physical. So you take those baseline results and look at how much damage was done in a very short period. Where were those personnel detailed???? Duh. $5-10 million a year. How can you put a price on what was done in the rescue and recovery effort? Why don't you save some money by ceasing the installation of GPS units that don't interface with dispatch, stop remodeling bathrooms to accomodate female firefighters that MIGHT be detailed there, and pull the advertising money for a minority recruitment effort that does not do anything to look at the root causes of why African Americans don't sign up in droves to take the test. RANT OFF
NYC Ground Zero Workers to Get More Benefits
By KAREN MATTHEWS
Associated Press Writer
Gov. George Pataki signed legislation Monday to greatly expand benefits for workers who have died or become sick from toiling in the smoke and dust that hung over the ruins of the World Trade Center.
Among other things, the families of rescue workers who die of their illnesses years after Sept. 11 would receive the full benefits available to those killed in the line of duty.
Rescue workers claim they are suffering from a variety of respiratory ailments and fear they could develop cancer down the line from asbestos and other toxic substances.
"As it is clear that many champions of 9/11 have developed debilitating illnesses over time resulting from their selfless acts, these New Yorkers need to know that New York state will not abandon them," Pataki said in a statement.
The governor's office had no immediate estimates for how many people the three new laws would cover or how much money the benefits would involve, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg complained that the legislation would cost the city $500 million over 10 years.
"It's just another example of the state of New York doing something that they want to do, but making the city pay," Bloomberg said. "There's no free lunch, and Albany doesn't seem to understand that."
The mayor said he did not object to the bill's purpose, "but I want them to fund it if that's what they want to do."
Health officials have warned that it may take 20 years before doctors know the full health effects of Sept. 11 on emergency personnel and civilians who were either engulfed in the airborne remains of the two 110-story buildings in the days immediately after the attack, or spent months afterward removing bodies and debris from the site.
A class-action lawsuit representing 8,000 workers and civilians blames Sept. 11 for sinusitis, cancer and other ailments developed after the attacks.
One of the laws signed Monday allows recovery workers who became ill after a two-year deadline to reapply for workers' compensation benefits.
"The brave men and women suffering from hidden health issues stemming from Sept. 11 should not be denied benefits because of a statutory time limit they had no hope of meeting," Pataki said.
The second law allows relatives of police officers and firefighters to receive the same benefits offered to families of those killed in the line of duty.
The improved benefits would probably apply to the family of 34-year-old retired police Detective James Zadroga. Zadroga died in January from respiratory disease. A New Jersey medical examiner ruled that his illness was "directly related" to Sept. 11. Union officials said that was the first rescue-worker death attributed to toiling at ground zero.
The third law would allow ground zero workers who became ill after they retire to have their retirement status reclassified as accidental disability, providing more generous benefits.
Associated Press Writer Sara Kugler contributed to this report.
The UFA Local 94 endorsed George W. Bush for president. I have not heard one peep out of him regarding this subject. How about it Mr. President?
Originally Posted by FFFRED
FTM is right!!
And he don't mean For The Men! :D Why is it so often that Mayor and MUTT are interchangeable words? :confused:Quote:
Originally Posted by pvfire424