Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Toxic Clouds of 9/11

On Sunday, September 17, we went to see the film "The Toxic Clouds of 9/11" at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY (http://www.cinemaartscentre.org/september/911.html). After the film, their was a panel discussion, which brought new information to light regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's response during the clean-up and the fact that NYC Emergency Medical Technicians that responded to 9/11 are being left out of the loop on compensation for their illnesses. The film was produced and directed by Alison Johnson who has written several books on multiple chemical sensitivity and Prevention is the Cure (www.preventionisthecure.org) was the sponsor for this program.
Several points we took way from the film and panel discussion:
  • It's taking too long to compensate NYC EMTs (Unsung Heroes-Helping Heroes www.unsunghhh.org is an organization trying to remedy this problem) and other workers that worked at Ground Zero in the toxic dust.
  • Many chemicals being used have very little or no data on their effects on humans.
  • No surprise here, EPA lied about the air quality at Ground Zero.
  • Workers at Ground Zero were only provided N95 filtering facepieces.
  • No effort was made to contain the toxic dust to Ground Zero and prevent its spread to other parts of the City.
  • The health effects that Ground Zero workers are experiencing are similar to the reactions of multiple chemical sensitivity victims. These reactions have been seen in Gulf War Veterans, workers that worked on Exxon Valdez oil spill, and starting to see in workers that worked on cleaning up after the Hurricanes Rita & Katrina.

Considering the health effect information coming out regarding the handling of various catastrophies, it certainly seems we need better work procedures to protect first responders and the workers during these clean ups. We also need to make sure we provide adequate compensation for first reponders and the clean-up workers who work at these catastrophies and then get sick because of their work.

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