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US EPA Accused of Suppressing the Risks of 9-11 Cleanup Dust

Date: August 25, 2006

Source: New York Times

According to the New York Times, a senior scientist with the US EPA accuses the agency of concealing health risks associated with 9-11 cleanup efforts. The scientist, Cate Jenkins of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, has been a frequent critic of the agency in recent years. In a recent letter to the New York Delegation, she points to a US Geological Survey study conducted a few months after the attack that found especially high levels of pH or alkalinity in the dust particles generated by cleanup efforts rendering them caustic or as corrosive as drain cleaner in some cases.

She accuses the EPA of ignoring these results and instead relying on a study performed by independents scientists with New York University that also found high levels of pH in large dust particles but not in smaller particles deemed more likely to enter the airways and lungs of the workers. She accuses the EPA of attempting to insulate itself from liability by basing its findings only on the University study. Mary Mears, a spokesperson for the EPA, said that they stood behind their work on ground zero environmental hazards, as did the university scientists.

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