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NiteGuy
This has been in the news for a couple of weeks now, and I am kind of surprised it hasn't come up yet, unless I just missed it.

There was a report recently by the OIG that the White house changed language, in public releases by the EPA, to claim that the air particle levels were safe to breathe. Other reports eliminated warnings about high asbetos levels, etc.

Here are some examples:

* On the morning of Sept. 12, according to the report, the office of then-Administrator of the EPA Christie Whitman issued a memo: "All statements to the media should be cleared through the NSC [National Security Council in the White House] before they are released."

* Language in an EPA draft stating that asbestos levels in some areas were three times higher than national standards was changed to "slightly above the 1 percent trigger for defining asbestos material."

* Discovery of asbestos higher than safe levels in dust samples from lower Manhattan was changed to state that "samples confirm previous reports that ambient air quality meets OSHA standards and consequently is not a cause for public concern."

* A warning on the importance of safely handling Ground Zero cleanup, due to lead and asbestos exposure, was changed to say that some contaminants had been noted downtown but "the general public should be very reassured by initial sampling."

* Another draft statement raising concerns about "sensitive populations" such as asthma patients, the elderly and people with underlying respiratory diseases was deleted.

* The report also notes examples when EPA officials claimed conditions were safe when no scientific support was available.

Links: NY NewsDay ...Cnn

Now, I know that accurate reports would not have made a difference to the rescue workers, but most of them were better prepared than the average citizen.

The question is, did our government deliberately mislead the employees and residents in the area, to bring them back in sooner than they would have on their own?
If so, do you think they should have done this, given the health risks involved?
Should they be held responsible for paying for the eventual health care costs of those that contract lung cancer, etc, because of misleading comments?
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Amlord
Somebody needs to sue...

What do you expect, the EPA regulations are much stricter than necessary as it is. Scaring people into thinking they will be poisoned by the asbestos that SHOULD have been used in the WTC but wasn't is not really necessary.

How long would you have waited for a "scientific report" to come out? A few weeks?

When there are huge clouds of smoke, the air smells like ash, and it stinks of burned who-knows-what, I think it was obvious that the atmosphere wasn't exactly normal.

This is, in my opinion, an overblown "Slow News Day" type of story.
GoAmerica
I have to agree with Amlord on this just ridiculous of an accusation being blown out of proportion

Besides, how would the white house profit from this?
NiteGuy
QUOTE(goamerica @ Sep 13 2003, 10:21 PM)
Besides, how would the white house profit from this?

I can think of a couple of ways:

1. Make the terrorists think that, after the initial shock wore off, that they didn't hurt us nearlly as badly as they may have hoped.

2. Knowing that this was going to be a big blow to the economy, to get the markets back up as quickly as possible (not a bad thing) even if it wasn't really "safe" to be in the area for an extended period because of the dust and pollution.

Again, I don't think that either goal was necessarily bad for us as a country, or for the world to see. I do think however, that we are going to end up seeing some long-term major medical effects from this in NY.

There is a reason that we don't use asbestos or fiberglass in building construction anymore. They are highly damaging to the lungs, and the leading non-smoking cause for lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. I just think the administration should not have been so eager to conceal the fact that they knew there was a problem.

Tell the people what the risks are, and let them make up their own minds. Don't tell them that there is no risk, when there obviously is, and you know what the effects are going to be on the population in ten years.
mrbluiis
Great points, I'm with you Niteguy. I thought of a few more ways White House profited.

1. We didn't have a mass panic of people running in all directions from large asbestos clouds in an already catastrophic time. That saved lives and millions of dollars right there.

2. By not warning people of the possible health risk, NYC got Ground Zero cleaned up much quicker.

I think that the people who were emergency workers, volunteer rescuers and clean up crew should all be followed for a number of years and compensated for any health problems. Now as for the average joe of NYC that is possibly another thread.
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