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September 12, 2011


ashes to ashes, dust to toxic dust; the remains of 9/11

by Andrea O'Connell

We passed the impossible ten-year anniversary of 911 yesterday.   It was a terrible day for the families of the victims, and my heart breaks for all of them.

Did anyone watch the documentary about the firefighters of Ladder One in NYC,  on television last night?  If you did, you would have seen that thousands of people are dying as a result of that deadly day.  You would have learned that the Officials of the NYC Health Department, Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, and others, lied and said the air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe.

Of course, this is not “new” news – we’ve known for some time of the health concerns of the rescue workers.   Seeing the CBS 911 documentary last evening brought the concerns of the rescue workers back into focus.

Even if you made a grade of C in high school biology, as I did, you would have figured out the AIR WAS NOT SAFE to breathe. (Sorry for the CAPS – this topic  infuriates me.)

We saw the dust that covered everything after the towers collapsed.  It was toxic dust.

We all know that it was rare for the workers to find entire remains of victims.  The rescue workers didn’t find computers or pieces of shattered windows or telephones or desks or chairs or pens or notebooks or staples or printers or paper clips when they searched Ground Zero.

The rescue workers breathed in the highly toxic dust of the computers and shattered windows and telephones and desks and chairs and pens and notebooks and staples and printers and paper clips.

They also breathed in and breathed out the dust of the 911 victims.  Ashes to ashes, dust to toxic dust.

The hundreds and hundreds of rescue workers who gave their very souls to recover bodies, also consumed the bodies in the very air they breathed.

I knew this. We all knew this.  The people at the scene were not thinking of their own safety, they were, and still are, completely selfless – they were there for the victims and the families.  They cried and cried and cried for the victims, not for themselves.  The paper masks they were given did nothing to block the toxins in the air.  The masks got sweaty and dirty, and of no use anyway, and most threw them away after an hour or so.  But, then it didn’t matter, the city ran out of masks.

And now, the rescue workers are dying.

What is killing the men and women who gave so much of themselves in the recovery effort?  Cancer.

I don’t have the precise statistics, but will quote the following by National Journal reporter, Maggie Fox in her story Studies find higher cancer rates in 9/11 rescuers:

These workers were exposed to an incompletely characterized mix of asbestos, alkaline cement dust, pulverized building materials, and fire smoke for many days and weeks, often without proper protection…. Hundreds of these people are disabled and can no longer work, and thousands have become ill and continue to receive medical treatment nearly 10 years after 9/11.

Nine years into the study, 28 percent of the workers had asthma, 42 percent had sinusitis, and 39 percent had GERD. Inhalation of toxic, highly alkaline dust is the probable cause of upper and lower-respiratory injury in rescue and recovery workers.

Doesn’t this make you see red?

Our government will lie when it suits them. We started a war in Iraq based on a lie.

The following is by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Paul Krugman:

The Years of Shame

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.

You can read more of Paul Krugman’s blog here:

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Sep 13 2011

    I understand……


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