Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today repeated his demand that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean up dangerous World Trade Center dust from homes, workspaces, and schools. Nadler's demand follows the release of a report by a consortium of medical researchers, who confirmed that firefighters, rescue workers, and other personnel who responded to the collapse of the World Trade Center were exposed to airborne pollutants that have led to increases in new-onset cough, wheeze, shortness of breath, and bronchial hyperractivity two and a half years after September 11.
"This report confirms what common sense and the law would tell you: that hazardous substances are just that -- hazardous. The EPA is guilty of wrongdoing and negligence, and should cleanup these hazardous substances now to protect public health. This report only bolsters the claim of plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit against EPA that the federal agency must remove hazardous substances and provide medical monitoring and treatment of those who have been exposed," said Nadler.
Nadler first requested that the EPA clean up buildings contaminated by WTC debris shortly after the September 11 attacks. To confirm the effects of the debris, Nadler initiated an investigation of the EPA's response in January 2002 and issued a White Paper documenting the federal environmental agency's wrongdoing in April 2002. When the EPA's own Inspector General confirmed in August 2003 that EPA's clean up plan was inadequate and that the White House played a role in downplaying public statements relating to air quality, Nadler called for Congressional and Department of Justice investigations into the matter.
"It is simply appalling that EPA's failure to meet its federally mandated responsibility to clean up hazardous materials following a terrorist attack has led to the negative health impacts of those who risked their own lives to save the lives of others. EPA must clean up immediately to stop others from being exposed to WTC dust, which can lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses," said Nadler.
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