Government Inaction Following 9/11 Contributed to Worker and Resident Illnesses

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) has issued a report claiming that inaction by the government contributed to the death and illness of many Ground Zero workers.

Backed up by evidence, NYCOSH claims that due to government negligence thousands of people are suffering from chronic respiratory ailments, cancers and other serious illnesses attributed to the exposure of toxins released by the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In a report, NYCOSH recommends steps that the government can take to better protect our workers from health and safety hazards when and if the next disaster strikes.

According to the NYCOSH report, the quick moves made by the government to return to normalcy prompted many officials to ignore or minimize the danger of exposure to toxins. EPA did not designate the area around Ground Zero as a hazardous waste site and OSHA did not require hazardous waste training for workers around the area.
In the midst of the cleanup, New York City’s mayor was pressured by real estate and financial interests to reopen lower Manhattan quickly, regardless of the health and safety consequences. As a result, approximately 400,000 people who may have been exposed to toxins now suffer.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, whose district includes lower Manhattan, said, “We know now that many mistakes were made in the days and weeks following 9/11 that exposed thousands of New Yorkers and responders from around the country to toxins from the collapse of the WTC buildings…. Many lost their lives and many more still are suffering today. We must all work together to make certain the mistakes made after 9-11 are never repeated, no matter the scale of the disaster or when it comes.”

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