Saturday, September 09, 2006

WTC Health Guidelines - Was Harlem Exposed?

"Can I have your attention please:

Jesus was Black.
[Middle Eastern - Woolly Hair]

Ronald Reagan was the devil.
[AIDS – Crack (Iran Contra) Policies]

And the government is lying about 9/11"


Despite what the government is saying, the toxic dust from the WTC did not stay in Lower Manhattan. The wind carried it much further than New York City. Remember the initial estimates that said 25,000 to 30,000 folks killed on 9/11. By the time World Trade Center Illness runs its course, initial death toll numbers could be accurate. I say that because the City reports that hundreds of thousands of people were exposed.

The toxic soup that made up the dust from the WTC contained transformer oil contaminated with PCB's, polyvinyl, chloride, copper, furans, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, dioxins, asbestos, mercury from the computers and lights, thousands of gallons of jet fuel, and what the National Resources Defense Council - NRDC defined as “small hazardous waste generating entities.” Add to that an estimated 50,000 personal computers with four pounds of lead each, pulverized, and that is 200,000 pounds of lead released into the atmosphere."

It's way past time to tell the truth about the government's decision to put New York on lock down when World Trade Center 1, 2 & 7 were exploded. I write exploded because there was thermite found in the dust and all three structures were pulverized, not fallen or burned. As was the case in New Orleans during Katrina, the word "explosions" was used by people who were present at the events.

It is not just the first responders who are suffering and dying. Living, working, visiting for a spell folks were exposed.

Did the toxic dust travel as far as Harlem? Of course it did. Common sense says the wind would carry the dust to many places, including Harlem.

  • Was there any testing done to see if asbestos and other toxic material traveled into Harlem?
  • What about folks who live in Harlem and volunteered at Ground Zero, i.e. Albert Davis or worked downtown either on or after 9/11 i.e. Robert Ponce'?
  • Given the dynamics of insurance, do those exposed have health options if they are among the 40 million or so uninsured in America?
  • Is Harlem's health care system ready to deal with community folks exposed to the toxic dust?
  • What have Harlem's elected and appointed officials done to test the area for toxic material from the WTC over the last 5 years?

Chronic exposure to toxic material can cause squamous cell cancer and other medical conditions. It takes 5-15 years to manifest and the reports of people dying are flooding in. There are many ways the problem of World Trade Center Illness is manifesting. Squamous cell cancer is just one.

After 5 years of "studying" the problem, in August, 2006, the City of New York released guidelines to the medical community for how to deal with WTC Illness. The report is from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene titled CLINICAL GUIDELINES FOR ADULTS EXPOSED TO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER DISASTER.

While the EPA and the City of New York are bantering blame about who was responsible for letting people be chronically exposed to a multitude of toxic substances, the result is no less devastating.

The guidelines, whose published section does not include footnotes, paints a grim picture:

Page 47:
"The World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attack and its aftermath exposed hundreds of thousands of people to debris, dust, smoke, and fumes. Studies conducted after September 11, 2001, among rescue and clean-up workers,1-4 office workers, 5 building evacuees,6 and residents of lower Manhattan 7-9 showed an increase in respiratory and other physical and mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

Many New Yorkers have health problems that could be associated with – or made worse by – exposure to the attack and its aftermath. Primary care physicians need to know how to identify, evaluate, treat, and if necessary, refer these individuals to expert care."

Page 48
Physical Exposures

The collapse and burning of the WTC and neighboring buildings released a complex mixture of irritant dust, smoke, and gaseous materials. Pulverized concrete, glass, plastic, paper, and wood produced alkaline dust. The dust cloud also contained heavy metals, as well as asbestos and other substances that may be carcinogenic. In addition, smoke released from the persistent fires in the months that followed also contained hazardous and potentially carcinogenic substances.

Environmental test results showed that the composition of dust and smoke released into the air and deposited on indoor and outdoor surfaces varied by date and location.10 Individual exposure to contaminants was determined by duration, site, activities, and use of appropriate protective equipment. Health effects related to these exposures may also vary, depending on the intensity and duration of exposure as well as on underlying medical conditions, tobacco use, and individual susceptibility.

Although heavy metals were detected in the air and dust, clinical tests performed on specimens from more than 10,000 firefighters showed no clinically significant concentrations of mercury, lead, or beryllium.11 Heavy metals are usually cleared from the blood and urine within months of exposure."

Page 49:
Table 2. Potentially WTC-Associated Conditions
Inhalation or ingestion of WTC dust and fumes affected the mucous membranes of the nose, sinuses, pharynx, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and respiratory tract.
The symptoms and signs of these conditions include:
• Sinus, nasal, and postnasal congestion
• Heartburn, hoarseness, and throat irritation
• Shortness of breath and wheezing
• Chronic cough
Some clinicians have described a syndrome consisting of a triad that is typified by:
• Upper airway cough syndrome (postnasal drip syndrome)
• Asthma/reactive airways dysfunction syndrome(RADS)
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)/laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD)

Page 51:
"Other Possibly Associated Pulmonary Conditions
Consult a WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Center (Resources) for further information about these and other medical problems currently under evaluation:
• Interstitial lung diseases
• Chronic bronchitis/non-asthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis
• Rare reports of pulmonary eosinophilic infiltrates,26 granulomatous pneumonitis,27 and bronchiolitis obliterans28
• Other lung diseases

Patients may also present with other as yet unexplained conditions that require additional diagnostic evaluation. Although the dust cloud contained heavy metals, there is no recognized need to perform blood or urine testing for heavy metals in the absence of specific indicative symptoms."

The guidelines are basically a shopping list for drugs that they disclaim in size 8 type, i.e.:

"Use of brand names is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene."

These 'guidelines' fall far short of what needs to be done now. They speak of managing symptoms rather than how to heal.

Here's my short list of what needs to be done now.

1. Demand unconditional screening and health care for all affected plus disability pay to cover living expenses. Many have lost their jobs over the last five years, are sick and without insurance. (#3 is how to pay for it).

2. Empower folks to use meditation, work with their Healer Within, hydrotherapy and/or medical hemp (marijuana) to manage and heal if possible. The only good news I found in the guidelines is that in the post 9/11 era, marijuana use is up. Since the problem is toxic material in one's body, cleaning out as much as possible (hydrotherapy - for drinking consider distilled water), reducing stress (meditation, Healer Within and medical hemp). It's going to take a miracle to turn this situation around, but as most Harlemites know, miracles happen every day.

3. Legalize hemp, tax it at 20% to raise revenue to pay for the health care and other social problems. Since the hemp plant scrubbs the air when growing, it can be an effective tool for helping folks by reducing pollutants in the air.

4. Bring to justice those responsible for altering the EPA report that told people that the air was safe to breathe and the water safe to drink. It was not safe, the city was put on lock down with a military compliment, and people are dying as a result of both the City of New York and the U.S. government’s failed policy of lie and hope it gets better. Demand to see the original, unaltered 9/11 air quality report from the EPA and other sources like the sewer air monitors at North River, Newton Creek, Red Hook, Owls Head and Port Richmond. They are suppose to be testing the air because the sewers are uncovered and in case someone throws something toxic into the sewers, we need to know.

5. Establish evacuation procedures that everyone knows about in the event of another emergency situation like the Christmas Tsunami of '04 (the politicians failed to protect Harlem's low lying areas from floods), or Katrina.

6. Work with and demand action from your elected and appointed officials. Even though the elections are rigged so that it's almost impossible to vote them out, there is still room to make them do the right thing and change the law to provide for WTC victims.

7. PRAY! if so inclined.

When I was teaching folks HOW TO COMPUTE in Harlem in the 90's I would tell them how, in the event of a disaster, the helicopters would not be coming to Harlem, but downtown where the money folks are. Sadly, Katrina demonstrated that I was correct.

I close with this last observation. There was no mention of Harlem, or mid-town or New Jersey in the guidelines. The people impacted by this health crisis must look within for answers because the government and the medical community barely have a clue what to do. Their industrial age solutions do not work well in this, the information age.