Air Today . . . Gone Tomorrow Article

9/11 health watch: 300,000 around WTC to be studied for 20 yrs.
By Maggie Haberman, Daily News City Hall Bureau, September 6, 2003

Some 300,000 people who lived, worked or were near Ground Zero after Sept. 11, 2001, are being asked to join an official registry to monitor any health effects from the World Trade Center debris plume.
Referring to a recent report saying the White House gave misleading information about the air quality near Ground Zero after the terror attacks, the city's health commissioner said a new health survey could produce the most reliable data on the blast's impact.

"We will tell it like it is," city Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said. "We do not know if there will be long-term consequences, and if there are, what they will be."

Frieden called the timing of the announcement of the registry a coincidence, saying it had nothing to do with the recent Environmental Protection Agency inspector general's report saying the Bush administration prematurely declared the air near Ground Zero safe to breathe.

He also sidestepped questions about the report itself.

Still, he said it was important for people to join the registry, which is confidential and voluntary, involving 30-minute phone interviews.

The registry will last for 20 years at a cost of $20 million, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency picking up the tab. A private contractor is running the operation.

For everyone nearby
The registry is for people who were in the area even for just a brief amount of time, Frieden said, for any point until the end of the cleanup effort at the site.

There have been similar health registries for other disasters, such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the nuclear reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979.

People can sign up for the registry by calling the city's information hotline, 311, or another number, (866) NYC-WTCR, or online at

Those eligible to join are people who worked or lived in a building or were in a subway stop south of Chambers St. when the towers fell; those living or attending school south of Canal St., or recovery workers at the WTC or the Fresh Kills landfill, where debris was carted.

Brooklynites living or working in areas where the dust cloud traveled over aren't eligible.



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