Air Today . . . Gone Tomorrow Article|
Cleared Ground Zero's Air Quality Too Soon after 9/11
By Robert Gearty, Daily
News, New York Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, March 11, 2004
The federal government exposed thousands of people to health risks by clearing
them to return downtown after the World Trade Center attacks, a class-action lawsuit filed
The suit filed in Manhattan Federal Court alleges that people were allowed to go back to
their homes, offices and schools in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn "with no proper
cleanup having occurred."
Plaintiffs Jim Gilroy, 55, and his 4-year-old daughter, Anamae, went back to their Tribeca
apartment after the federal Environmental Protection Agency declared the area safe.
"They said it was okay, and we believed them," said Gilroy, who attributes his
sinus problems and his daughter's rashes to the exposure to dust from the collapsed
"I don't know if they were lying or incompetent, but they should not have come out
with that if they didn't know."
The 112-page lawsuit accuses EPA officials, including former Administrator Christie
Whitman, of a "shockingly deliberate indifference to human health."
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and reimbursement for cleanup and seeks the
establishment of a medical monitoring program for people who were exposed to the dust.
EPA regional administrator Jane Kenny said she had not had the opportunity to review the
lawsuit and could not comment specifically on it. "It is important to note that EPA
staff performed remarkable feats in the aftermath of the World Trade Center collapse under
the most trying of circumstances," she said.
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