Deadly Dust: A Special Report by Visibility 9-11

In December of 2006, and after watching the effects of the 9-11 dust on first responders and even rescue dogs for more than a couple of years, I decided it was imperative to do and expose` on the issue of the aftermath of the pulverization of the Twin Towers. The mainstream media was ignoring the issue and the government cronies were doing little more than paying lip service to the increasingly sick and dying hero’s of 9-11: The first responders. Together with many other activists on this issue, we were successful in bringing the plight of the first responders into the mainstream for much needed publicity and help. However, much work is still needed to draw more attention and accountability for the lies of the Bush Regime and the EPA, and to get much needed help for the real hero’s of September 11th. Rudy Guiliani, you are not one of them.

-Michael

Anger builds over EPA’s 9/11 report

Charges of a cover-up hit nerve with New Yorkers
By Francesca Lyman
msnbc.com contributor

Sept. 11, 2003 — Two years after the World Trade Center attacks, New Yorkers say they’re outraged by reports that the White House influenced the Environmental Protection Agency to downplay hazards posed by the toxic dust that fell in an avalanche over the city. The EPA’s acting chief defends the agency’s actions after the attacks, saying it hopes to be better prepared for “the next time.”

“I pray to God that, as a country, in the event of another terrorist attack, God forbid, we as an agency would be equipped to get the data analyzed and posted to the public,” EPA Acting Administrator Marianne Horinko told MSNBC in an exclusive interview. “All that was a huge challenge to us on 9/11 — coordinating communication among agencies, following incident command. God forbid there is a dirty bomb. I hope everyone knows their battle stations.”

In the early days and weeks of the World Trade Center disaster, says Horinko, there was such chaos that mistakes were inevitably made.

“Did we rush out (too soon) with data? On balance, I think we used our best professional judgment in an atmosphere where people were clamoring for answers.” But the agency wasn’t trying to deceive the public, she claims.

However, a report by the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General released on Aug. 21 states, among other criticisms, that the White House reviewed and even changed EPA statements about public health risks to make them sound less alarming. The report charges that the White House Council on Environmental Quality influenced “the information EPA communicated to the public through its early press releases when it convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones.” The report cites “reopening Wall Street” and “national security” as reasons for the spin.

‘We were all lied to’
The EPA presented “an overriding message that there was no significant threat to human health” even though there was cause for caution, it concluded.

“When EPA made a September 18 announcement that the air was ‘safe’ to breathe, it did not have sufficient data and analyses to make such a blanket statement,” said the OIG, adding that the agency was missing data on other pollutants, such as particulates and chemicals like PCBs. In addition, 25 percent of dust samples contained asbestos, a potent carcinogen.

Yes, Horinko admits, the EPA did find asbestos in the dust samples. “But the vast majority of the samples we took did not contain it,” she says.

Asked about why people are still suffering ill effects, Horinko said she can understand that rescue workers would still be affected but finds residents’ continued complaints to be “mystifying.”

Even though the the building collapses caused the highest particulate count in the city’s history, the tragic event violated no pollution standards. That’s because the air quality regulations were set up to measure particulate matter loadings over 24-hour periods rather than intense, short-term bursts.

That is cold comfort to many New Yorkers, particularly those still suffering health effects from exposure to the dust.

Kim Todd, an acting coach who lives in lower Manhattan just two blocks from the former World Trade Center, says she’s angry. “I might not have stayed down here — with dust on me for days — had I known of the dangers,” she says. “We were all lied to, and I’m afraid everybody is going to be seriously sick.”

Some fear that “WTC cough,” sinus problems, headaches and other ailments that Todd and others continue to experience, were worsened by government officials more willing to return the city to normalcy and open the Stock Market than protect public health. Doctors, too, worry the event could spur a rash of asbestosis, cancer and other long-term diseases in the future.

Many workers still sick
“For me, it’s very scary. We lost another firefighter, and that makes one in New York and two volunteers who have died of pneumonia. My lungs are totally shot, and I’m afraid that’s what many of us are going to die of,” says Vincent Forras, a volunteer firefighter who answered the call for help, driving down from South Salem, N.Y., to Ground Zero that clear, blue-skied morning on Sept. 11.

Forras and thousands of other rescue workers on “the pile,” who were largely unprotected in those first hours and days, are still sick. Workers got little more than paper masks, if that, and there weren’t enough respirators to go round, recalls Forras, who still suffers severe headaches and ailments stemming from sinus surgery. “It took at least two weeks to get properly equipped. By then we were pretty well cooked.”

“There was a lot of finger-pointing about who was in charge,” says Joel Shufro, director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health. “But in the confusion between EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the city Health Department, laws weren’t enforced.”

Workers have to bear some of the blame, says Horinko. “Many did not wear professional gear despite our best efforts.”

But, Forras says, even Mayor Rudolph Guiliani appeared to believe the EPA’s statement and went so far as to stand next to then-EPA administrator Christie Whitman and announce that the air was safe.

“When you have someone of the caliber of Mayor Guiliani saying it, they took that as gospel,” says Forras.

Not all New Yorkers believed that the smells wafting up from the smoldering remains of the two 110-story office towers were as benign as official pronouncements.

“How could something as huge as the World Trade Centers with all their contents — computers, fluorescent lights, plastic chairs, everything — just disappear?” says Todd. “They had to go somewhere.”

Workers at Ground Zero got much higher doses of dust and fumes than residents, says Dr. Robin Herbert, a physician and researcher at Mt. Sinai Hospital who worked on a program that screened and treated rescue workers and volunteers at the site. A year after the attacks, half of the program’s patients — some 7,000 firefighters, police officers and other volunteers — were still sick. While the final count is not in, says Herbert, “a substantial percent continue to have persistent upper and lower respiratory symptomatology — coughs and sinus problems.”

Toxins may linger
Two years after Sept. 11, some downtown New Yorkers are still concerned about the potential toxicity of lingering dust in indoor areas, says Jenna Orkin, of 9/11 Environmental Action, a group formed to address issues many felt literally slipped through the cracks after the disaster when the EPA turned indoor air issues over to the city Department of Health.

After Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) held hearings on the health hazards triggered by the terror attacks, the EPA and city launched a program to clean up people’s apartments, ultimately cleaning more than 4,000 apartments in lower Manhattan. But that program left out the cleanup of schools, offices, workplaces, shops and businesses — and that’s only the beginning of how “wholly inadequate” the program was, Nadler told MSNBC.

“The program was limited to an area south of Canal Street, as though there were a Star Trek force field blocking out the rest of Manhattan and other places, like Brooklyn, where we know the toxic plume traveled,” says Nadler.

The EPA tested and cleaned individual apartments only when people asked, and generally left out central air systems and common areas. “How can you clean one apartment, and not the one next to it?” Nadler asks.

Apartments were tested for only one pollutant: asbestos. The testing method used excluded active testing, which uses a fan to kick up the pollutants lurking in carpets, drapes and corners, unless applicants opted for the most aggressive cleanup, which prohibited the resident from being present (and, some say, discouraged many people from signing up).

Jo Polett, who lives 6 blocks from the trade center site, however, insisted on supervising her job, and made the contractor turn on the “active” test fan when he didn’t even know to. With effort, she learned that her apartment was contaminated with heavy metals, such as antimony and lead (with the lead reading five times the EPA’s standard). Had she opted for “testing only” — which tested only asbestos — she might never have found that out.

Polett, who speaks softly with her new whispery voice, blames her respiratory problems on the toxic dust trapped in her building’s ventilation system. Yet, because there was no visible dust in her apartment, she never suspected a problem until several months after the disaster. Too late, her home was judged “uninhabitable” by FEMA, she said. “I’m frightened by what other people might also be living with,” says Polett.

In a press conference, Nadler also release a memo by EPA scientist Cate Jenkins, a veteran of the Hazardous Waste division, saying that even the most rigorous EPA-led efforts have failed to clean up downtown buildings to federal levels for asbestos and silica, another carcinogen that, she says, could be implicated in “WTC cough.”

Jenkins’ memo states that a building at 114 Liberty Street still has visible dust. She has said that the EPA tested its own offices downtown with more stringent methods. The city Department of Environmental Protection did not return calls regarding its joint cleanups with the EPA, but Jordan Bailowitz in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office said, “The city is not responsible for oversight of what EPA had done to clean up apartments.”

New cleaning efforts urged
Siding with Nadler on this issue, the OIG has urged the EPA to re-launch a new systematic program to make sure the agency’s apartment cleaning does reduce residents’ exposure to indoor pollutants. The OIG notes that in this case, as in future terrorist events, the EPA is tasked under a 1998 Presidential Decision Directive “with the leadership role in cleaning up buildings and other sites contaminated by chemical or biological agents as a result of terrorism.”

But the EPA’s Horinko doesn’t think that’s necessary. “We stand by the job we managed in testing and cleaning up people’s apartments,” she says.

It’s too soon to say if the World Trade Center attack will have long-term health effects on New York residents, says the OIG report, although there are troubling signs. Pregnant women exposed to air pollution from the World Trade Center attacks, according to a preliminary study released in August 2003, face double the risk of delivering babies up to a half-pound smaller than babies born to women not exposed.

Doctors are still treating patients with post 9-11 respiratory problems, says Neal Schachter, a pulmonologist at Mt. Sinai. During the first year, he saw perhaps 15 percent more such patients, but that’s tapering off to between 5 percent to 10 percent more now.

“But I still get a steady stream of patients, including new ones,” he says.

Schachter also worries about the long-term consequences of the pollution that we have yet to see. “With asbestos, as well as other carcinogens, we’re dealing with silent culprits, that have yet to wind up scarring lungs or causing cancer,” he adds.

For some, the OIG report shook their confidence in government. “Accurate and timely information from government is a cornerstone of good public health,” says Mt. Sinai’s Herbert. “By deleting good information to the public — people in their apartments, people on the pile — we lost opportunities for disease prevention.”

Francesca Lyman is an environmental and travel journalist and author of “Inside the Dzanga-Sangha Rain Forest” (Workman, 1998). She recently finished a report on the health effects of the Sept. 11 attacks titled “Messages in the Dust,” which will be available online at www.neha.org.

Original article here.

New Journal of 9-11 Studies Paper Published in Peer Reviewed Scientific Journal

Environmental anomalies at the World Trade Center: evidence for energetic materials

by Kevin R. Ryan, James R. Gourley, and Steven E. Jones
© The Author(s) 2008

Received: 17 February 2008 Accepted: 14 July 2008 Published online: 4 August 2008

Abstract Investigators monitoring air quality at the World Trade Center, after the September 11th attacks, found extremely high levels of volatile organic chemicals as well as unusual species that had never been seen before in structure fires. Data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicate striking spikes in levels of benzene, styrene, and several other products of combustion. These spikes occurred on specific dates in October and November 2001, and February 2002. Additionally, data collected by researchers at the University of California Davis showed similar spikes in the levels of sulfur and silicon compounds, and certain metals, in aerosols. To better explain these data, as well as the unusual detection of 1,3-diphenylpropane, the presence of energetic nanocomposites in the pile at Ground Zero is hypothesized.

1 Introduction

For months after the destruction at the World Trade Center (WTC) on 11th September, 2001, the fires at Ground Zero (GZ) could not be put out, despite the following facts.

  • Several inches of dust covered the entire area after the destruction of the WTC buildings.
  • Millions of gallons of water were sprayed onto the debris pile.
  • Several rainfall events occurred at GZ, some heavy; and
  • A chemical fire suppressant called Pyrocool was pumped into the piles (Lipton and Revkin 2001).

The characteristics of these un-extinguishable fires have not been adequately explained as the results of a normal structure fire, even one accelerated by jet fuel. Conversely, such fires are better explained given the presence of chemical energetic materials, which provide their own fuel and oxidant and are not deterred by water, dust, or chemical suppressants.

Apart from the extensive but failed efforts to extinguish the fires, there are several other physical indicators of the presence of energetic chemical reactions in the rubble at GZ. These include the following.

  1. Photographs and witness testimony evidencing molten metal and explosions accompanied by white dust clouds (Jones 2006; Meyerowitz 2006; PBS 2002).
  2. Extremely high temperatures in the fires at the WTC (Jones et al. 2008a).
  3. Unusual spikes in volatile organic chemical (VOC) emissions, suggesting abrupt, violent fires on specific dates.
  4. Unusual species in the environmental monitoring data, also corresponding to specific dates.

Explosions followed by white dust clouds, and molten metal at GZ, are of particular interest in this analysis. A white dust cloud is one of the products of the thermite reaction. The white dust in this case is aluminum oxide, released from the extremely exothermic reaction between
aluminum and iron oxide. The other product of the thermite reaction is molten iron. These facts, coupled with evidence for extremely high temperatures at the WTC, suggest that investigators should examine the potential for such pyrotechnic materials at the WTC. The environmental data described below give more compelling evidence to support such an inquiry.

2 EPA data on VOC emissions from GZ

Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, access to environmental monitoring data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WTC response was obtained (EPA 2004). The data set shows that spikes in the levels of airborne VOCs occurred on specific dates at GZ (Austin Tobin Plaza, WTC 1 or WTC 2), with levels of the related contaminants rising sharply and then falling dramatically back to baseline levels, usually within 1 day or less. An example is shown in Fig. 1, for detections of benzene.

Benzene is a major product of the combustion of plastics and other organic materials. In a typical structure fire, when plastics are abundant, benzene levels have been seen at levels as high as 26 ppb (MOEE 1997). Apart from fires, benzene is seen in high-traffic areas of urban settings, with mean levels of *4 ppb (Crebellia et al. 2001).

Serious health consequences are known to occur when breathing benzene at 100 ppb, and it is known to cause diseases such as leukemia (HHS 2007). Note that, for the first few weeks after 9/11, the levels of benzene detected at GZ were relatively low, although perhaps higher than historical levels from structure fires. But the maximum value detected in November 2001 was 180,000 ppb, and the average daily detection for October and November 2001 was 18,000 ppb. The five peaks in benzene detection occurred on 5th October, 11th October, 3rd November, 8th November, and 16th November.

[Read more…]

(video) 9-11 Dust; The Effects on One Man

(video) Video Trailer: 911 Dust and Deceit at the World Trade Center

Visit the official 9-11 Dust and Deceit website by clicking here.

(video) Jenna Orkin of the WTC Environmental Organization; Air Poisoning At Ground Zero

Jenna Orkin of the WTC Environmental Organization details how the Bush administration Environmental Protection Agency told the public that the air in Lower Manhattan after the attacks of 9/11 was safe to breathe even while knowing is was not. This raises the question: if the Bush administration was willing to sacrifice the health and the lives of United States citizens, what else would they be willing to do?

(video) Hearings Rep. Anthony Weiner Grills Whitman and the EPA Over 9-11 Lies

Judiciary Hearing on Post-9/11 Air Quality: Weiner’s Opening
6/25/2007

The Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties is currently holding a hearing, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Response to Air Quality Issues Arising from the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001: Were There Substantive Due Process Violations?” Former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman will testify, amongst others. Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York City gives opening remarks.

Use Real Player to watch the entire hearing by pasting the following URL into Real Player:

rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/ter/ter062507_epa.rm

Here is one of the reassuring public statements from EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman-

(pdf) EPA World Trade Center Report Documents the Lies About the Deadly 9-11 Dust

One week after September 11th, Christie Todd Whitman stated that, Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington D.C., that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink.”, even as the EPA had information to the contrary.

In fact, the 9-11 dust was extremely caustic and in August of 2003, the EPA issued a report showing the changes the Bush administration made to the initial cautionary statements which were originally meant to warn the public of the dangers in the dust. These warnings were changed to reassurances and the public never heard the truth.

These lies have resulted in thousands of people getting sick from breathing the toxic dust, and now, over 5 years later, they are dying. If you think our own government isn’t capable of deliberately killing its’ own citizens, think again.

As reported by CBS, click here.

Listen to the Special Report on the deadly 9-11 dust and the cover-up produced for Visibility 9-11 here.

To download the EPA WTC Report click here.

(video) Loose Change Final Cut

(video) Rudy vs. FDNY

Former EPA Boss Grilled on 9/11 Air Quality

Former EPA Boss Grilled on 9/11 Air Quality
June 25, 2007
NY1 News

Former EPA Chief Christine Todd Whitman faced fierce questioning in Washington Monday as she testified under oath about her declaration that the air was safe to breathe immediately following 9/11.

whitmangwbush.jpg

Whitman took the stand at the hearing, led by Manhattan Congressman Jerrold Nadler, to answer questions about the cleanup of the Trade Center site and on what she knew and when about the air quality in Lower Manhattan in the days and weeks following 9/11.

The former EPA head declared the air around the site to be safe to breathe just days after the attacks. But in the nearly six years since, independent government reports have been critical of the EPA’s handling of the clean up, and studies have shown that a staggering 70 percent of first responders now have some degree of respiratory problems, leading some on the panel to denounce the EPA and its former chief for negligence.

Whitman said her assurances that the air was safe to breathe in Lower Manhattan in the days after the attacks were based on scientific evidence.

[Read more…]