The evidence keeps piling up. Yesterday, Mount Sinai released a study showing that about 70% of Ground Zero workers have respiratory issues. The study was conducted amongst 9,442 workers who were at Ground Zero in the days after September 11, with the majority of them having "new or worsened chronic breathing conditions since responding to the attacks." Mount Sinai Medical Center's Dr. Robin Herbert said, ""There should no longer be any doubt about the health effects of the World Trade Center. Our patients are sick and are going to need health monitoring and treatment for the rest of their lives." Further, the head of Mount Sinai's community and preventive medicine Philip Landrigan said, "What these people inhaled was extremely toxic. It was pulverized dust. It was like Drano. It penetrated deep in the lungs, deep in the sinus cavities."
At the press conference for the release of the study, Democrats Senator Hillary Clinton, Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, urged for more federal funding for health treatment. Yet Mayor Bloomberg, when questioned later on, said, "I don't believe that you can say specifically a particular problem came from this particular effect. There is no way to tell for sure, and you've got to be very careful. If I say, 'I've got something because of this,' that's just not the way science works." He had not read the report, and was in the midst of announcing the city's creation of the WTC Environmental Health Center at Bellevue Hospital to address 9/11-related health issues. While we understand the Mayor needs to remain circumspect and have time to analyze the study himself, we'd think he'd try to remain a little more compassionate. It's not like the folks at Mount Sinai are quacks.
amNew York looks at the health issues of a police officer who was at Ground Zero for 400 hours and now has "pulmonary sarcoidosis -- a scarring of the lungs and inflammation of vital organs." The Daily News has reactions from workers ("I'm not surprised at all, because I've had so many problems and I've known a lot of people who died.") and an editorial that asks for action.
Photograph of workers looking for victims in the days after September 11, 2001 from Stephen Chernin/AP (file)