Air Today . . . Gone Tomorrow Article

Greens rip W on 9/11 air  
By Frank Lombardi and Tamer El-Ghobashy, New York Daily News, August 19, 2004

The Bush administration repeatedly misled New Yorkers on air quality around Ground Zero and played down the health problems suffered by residents and workers after the 9/11 attacks, an environmental group charged yesterday.

A report by the Sierra Club cites dozens of studies that show hundreds of people were sickened after the attacks on the World Trade Center because the government made mistakes during the cleanup effort.

"The federal government should have a duty to protect the public from the aftermath of an attack such as this," said Suzanne Mattei, the author of the 185-page report. "What happened instead is that the harm was prolonged."

Mattei accused the Bush administration of ignoring evidence that the air around Ground Zero may have been toxic and wrongly encouraging people to continue to work and live there after the attacks.

According to a study cited in the report, a Chinatown clinic saw a 67% spike in asthma-related visits among children after 9/11.

The Sierra Club also cited a 2002 study of Health and Human Services Department workers showing that those working at 290 Broadway, several blocks from Ground Zero, suffered worsened symptoms of coughing, shortness of breath and severe headaches than their counterparts in Dallas.

The Environmental Protection Agency called the Sierra Club report a "scare tactic."

"The American public should see this report for what it is a blatant attempt to use this tragedy for political gain," an EPA statement said.

But Mattei said the EPA failed to publicly disclose the hazards and was under direct orders from the Bush administration to play down the risks.

All contents 2004 Daily News, L.P.



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