View Full Version : American Spirit Shines Again!

7th February 2002, 09:18 PM
From the AP. (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020207/ap_on_re_us/attacks_claims_1)

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - From rescue workers who say they have lung problems to business owners who say their shops were damaged, 1,300 people have given notice they may sue the city for a total of $7.18 billion over the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack.

The claims involve injuries or damage caused not by the attack itself but by the alleged negligence of the city during the recovery and cleanup.

The vast majority are from firefighters who say the city gave them inadequate respiratory protection at the smoldering trade center site.

Not all of those who served notice will sue. Some, for example, may instead seek money from the federal victims compensation fund. But the notices preserve their right to bring a lawsuit.

The notices show the extent of the health complaints being lodged by hundreds of firefighters, police officers and other recovery workers who fear cancer or other ailments.

Asbestos, benzene, dioxin, PCBs and other contaminants have been detected in the twin towers' ruins. In the first few days after the attack, as many as 150 firefighters and police officers were at the scene 24 hours a day.

Firefighter Palmer Doyle said he worked two 12-hour days without a respirator at the site. He filed notice of a $10 million claim.

"You run up a couple flights of stairs, which I used to do with no problem, and you find yourself sucking in the air," he said. "What if, five years down the road, we develop lung cancer or something like that?"

Most other notices are from property owners near the trade center.

Police officers commandeered Murray's Deli, about four blocks from the twin towers, on the day of the attack, according to Brian Rappaport, the owners' lawyer. They allege the shop was left open by police, robbed and vandalized.

The city is self-insured and awards from successful lawsuits would be paid out of the city's general fund.

"We don't believe the city is liable. But we'll obviously have to take a look at the complaints if and when they come in," said Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, the city's chief lawyer.

Notices to sue have to be filed within 90 days, though people can go to court and obtain a waiver of the deadline.

An additional 111 notices have been filed with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the owner of the World Trade Center complex.

Some city workers could be eligible for benefits from the federal victims' compensation fund. Kenneth Feinberg, the fund's administrator, said workers would have to waive their right to sue if they sought federal compensation, but would get money more quickly and easily through the fund.

Yet many firefighters worry that they could develop cancer long after tapping into the federal fund, said Michael Barasch, whose law firm filed notices on behalf of several hundred workers.

Fire Department spokesman Frank Gribbon said the department tried to get respirators to firefighters as fast as possible after the attack.

"We know that they were available in a limited capacity in the days that followed Sept. 11," Gribbon said. They soon became more plentiful, he said, but even then, "guys had them around their necks and they weren't wearing them."

Firefighters may also file for Social Security benefits and receive three-quarters of their last year's pay tax-free for life if a line-of-duty injury forces retirement.

7th February 2002, 10:43 PM
I don't know what to think

7th February 2002, 11:59 PM
Here's my question: If what happened to them would happen under "normal work circumstances" (i.e., in case of an emergency no respirators, long hours, being exposed to hazardous substances, etc.) then they should get exactly what they normally would - their paycheck. However, if the working conditions they were exposed to would have, under "normal working conditions," led to a lawsuit and/or them receiving some form of benefit for their injuries, then I hope they get everything that's coming to them. In other words, the fact that two buildings were blown up shouldn't even enter into the equation in this decision.


11th February 2002, 01:51 PM
I have no problem with that. When the guys gets his 10 million dollar settlement and never develops lung cancer, will he give the money back? He is sueing for monies to pay for a condition he doesnt have.

I have no problem making sure that those that risk their lives for public service get rewarded and compensated for the risks involved but this is not the way to go about doing it.

11th February 2002, 05:41 PM
NEW YORK - Even as the dust from the collapsed World Trade Center was still settling, top government scientists were determining that the smoky gray mixture was highly corrosive and potentially a serious danger to health.

The U.S. Geological Survey team found that some of the dust was as caustic as liquid drain cleaner and alerted all government agencies involved in the emergency response. But many of those on the front lines of protecting the health of the public and workers cleaning up the site say they never got the information.

"I'm supposed to be in the loop, and I've never heard any specific numbers on how caustic the dust actually was," said Dr. Robin Herbert, co-director of the Mount Sinai Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine. "There is a large segment of the population here whose physicians needed to know that information that USGS submitted. Exposure to dust with a high pH could impact everyone, but especially the very young, the very old and those with existing pulmonary disease." Census data show large concentrations of young and elderly living near the World Trade Center site.

The EPA's office in New York said it repeatedly told the public that the dust was caustic because of the cement that was pulverized when the towers collapsed. But an examination of all the EPA's public and press statements made since Sept. 11 found nothing that warned of the very high pH levels found by the Geological Survey scientists. Nor did the statements disclose the specific levels that the EPA's own testing found.

"We've not heard of EPA or anyone else releasing information on specific pH levels in the dust, and that's information that we all should have had," said Carrie Loewenherz, an industrial hygienist for the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, which provides assistance to more than 250 unions.

"It's the specific numbers - those precise pH levels - that we need to make the appropriate safety decisions for the workers, and they were never released," Loewenherz said. "The dust, once it's in contact with moist tissue, the throat, the mouth, nasal passages, the eyes and even sweaty skin, it becomes corrosive and can cause severe burns."

Most of the samples taken by USGS' team had a pH of 9.5 to 10.5, about the same alkalinity as ammonia. Two samples that were taken inside a high-rise apartment and in a gymnasium across from the wreckage of the World Trade Center had a pH of 11.8 to 12.1 - equivalent to what would be found in liquid drain cleaner.

The degree of acidity or alkalinity in a material is expressed as a pH measurement. Neutral pH - like water - is 7 on a 15-point scale. Lower than 7, to 0, is an indication of acid. Higher than 7, to 14, the top of the scale, is alkaline. Levels near either end of the pH scale can harm the health of people and animals.

Bruce Lippy, Loewenherz's counterpart with the operating engineers union, is responsible for the 300 workers running heavy equipment at ground zero.

"Part of the dilemma we faced was not knowing precisely what was in the dust," Lippy said. "We knew it was caustic but had no information on exactly how caustic it was. I was trying to get people to wear the respirators, but if I knew how high the pH levels were, I could have been more persuasive in convincing the workers of the dangers."

Only a handful of the 100 or so workers sorting wreckage and loading trucks on the site over three days last week were seen wearing respirators or protective masks.

11th February 2002, 06:24 PM
Sigh....Dont even get me started......GRRRRRRRR. This incident reminds me of something that has happened in MY HOME TOWN!!! I am going to give you guys a quick little story, care to listen?

When i was growing up, my family and I lived in a small town called APollo, pennsylvannia. We lived about half a football field away from this huge 'foundry' called B&W(BABCOX's and WILCOX's). This place was basically a powerplant, atleast that is what we were told. Well, during the mid-80's, a large amount of area residents were striken with cancer. My mom ended up growing suspicious of this and began to do research about this company. It ended up this place was producing nuclear materials, in particular URANIUM. In fact, this plant was producing uranium for israel. Now, my mom devoted half her life to this cause, to rid our town of this plant. She never got a job, and never recieved compensation for all her work. Our family was very below average when it came to money(my dad is a steel mill worker), and that must have took a lot of dedication on her part to stick with it.
in the early 90's her quest was finally completed. She got the town 70 million dollars to tear down the plant and clean all the contaminated soil to a Nevada dump site(they basically dug 20 some feet underground and transported the dirt). People in the area are still getting Cancer..why? Well, thats simple. The EPA(http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/cursites/c3pa/s0303297.htm) did contamination checks for close properties to the site. Our whole YARD AND HOUSE was contaminated with uranium(they brought gyger counters to test). My parents still live in that same house, just like the rest of our neighbors and such. As for myself and my brother, around 20 years in that house. The local river was contaminated because they actually dumped BARRELS OF WASTE IN IT!
My mom gave a good chunk of her life to help the neighborhood, but basically she just wanted her kids to live safely. What did she recieve? nothing! What did we recieve for our contaminated property which my parents still live in? nothing! What did i get for spending 20 years in a contaminated town so close to the source? nothing! Sickening..........

My mom recieved her share of awards and recognition, but she was also used as a scapegoat for the town losing its businesses and such. What a crock of HORSESH!T. To be honest, my mom should have been rewarded for her work. She did so damn much to help save the life of many its ridiculous.
I know this has nothing to do with the original topic, but i had to vent. Thansk for listening

PS: No i am not a human night-light. I do not glow in the dark! hehe. (I have heard that joke too many times....)

11th February 2002, 06:42 PM
Wow thats a powerful story Bap. It's a shame that sh!t like this happens and that people who fight for their community are never recognised by it :(

11th February 2002, 06:48 PM
Yea, our house was COVERED in boxes of documents!! 100's of boxes EVERYWHERE. We never had a dining room table...well, we did but it was always covered with documents. My mom must have had every available document....even those that were blacked out with black marker(ya know, just like in movies...some sentences are blacked out...it was very spooky).
Me and all my friends used to play in the river that they dumped all that **** into.....sigh.......

11th February 2002, 07:18 PM
Originally posted by Baptizer
Yea, our house was COVERED in boxes of documents!! 100's of boxes EVERYWHERE. We never had a dining room table...well, we did but it was always covered with documents. My mom must have had every available document....even those that were blacked out with black marker(ya know, just like in movies...some sentences are blacked out...it was very spooky).
Me and all my friends used to play in the river that they dumped all that **** into.....sigh.......

Good for your mum, it is individuals who fight, that make the difference :)


11th February 2002, 11:20 PM
The world needs more folks like your mum Bap ... and thats the truth!

Mad Bad John
11th February 2002, 11:33 PM
Yet another example of Big Corporations crapping on the little guy - when profit is involved morals are the first out the window :(

12th February 2002, 01:46 AM
Originally posted by Mad Bad John
When profit is involved morals are the first out the window :(

i couldnt agree more! that quote is being written down