Whitman and Giuliani lied
9/11 dust ‘as caustic as drain cleaner’
Published Sep 14, 2006 9:32 AM
To the list of liars who
used the World Trade Center disaster to serve their political agendas, add the
names of Christine Todd Whitman and Rudolph Giuliani.
multi-millionaire and darling of the New Jersey country club set, was the
appointed head of the Environ mental Protection Agency at the time. She
emphatically told the public that it was safe to work and breathe the air around
Giuliani, then mayor, backed up her story. Today he is
looking for sympathy over possible health problems related to his going
After the disaster, some 40,000 people worked in the area of the
Trade Center or at the Fresh Kills site on Staten Island where the debris from
the buildings was dumped. Some were early responders looking for survivors or
clearing rubble. Others were hired within days to clean offices and apartments
in the area, which were covered with fine dust from the collapsed
An estimated one fourth of the workers involved may have been
immigrants, and half of these—as many as 5,000 people—probably
didn’t have papers. (Newsday, Sept. 12)
All the exposed workers are
at great risk today. That is the conclusion of a huge study conducted by Mount
Sinai Medical Center, which has screened thousands of workers and
“Many who worked at Ground Zero in the early days after
the attacks have sustained serious and lasting health problems as a direct
result of their exposure to the environment there,” said Dennis Charney,
Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs, Mount Sinai School of Medicine,
comment ing on the release of a report by the hospital’s World Trade
Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program.
scientifically confirms high rates of respiratory problems in a large num ber of
responders,” Charney explained.
The report said that almost 70
percent of World Trade Center responders reported a new or worsened respiratory
symptom that developed during or after their time working at the WTC. Even when
examined after several years, the problems persisted among 60 percent of the
The study did not cover cancer or other long-term illnesses
that are expected to crop up in the future.
“This was extremely
toxic dust,” says Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, an author of the study. He said
some samples showed the dust to be as caustic as drain cleaner.
contained “innumerable tiny shards of glass, which could get lodged in the
lungs, and a stew of toxic and carcinogenic substances, like asbestos and
dioxin, that could potentially lead to cancer decades from now. ... [D]octors
have concluded that the workers will have serious health issues for years to
come.” (New York Times, Sept. 6)
The doctors said that 40 percent of
those who went to Mount Sinai for screening had no health insurance. Some had
actually lost employer-provided coverage after they became too sick to work.
There have been deaths and protest demonstrations involving affected
But the billionaire mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, was
quick to belittle the report, saying it was inconclusive.
While the Mount
Sinai report covers early responders, the workers hired to clean buildings are
also reporting serious illnes ses. Claudia Gil, an undocumented worker from
Colombia, got a job one week after the towers collapsed cleaning offices for $60
a day. She now suffers from chronic headaches, has trouble breathing at night
and often experiences severe stomach cramps. (Newsday)
When all the
capitalist politicians, from Bush on down, were trying to use the disaster to
promote themselves, they were full of praise for these “heroes” and
“patriots” and promised them everything society had to offer. But
little support has come through from either the federal government or local
Now they are just workers again, facing the same problems as
other workers in this profits-first society.
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