Inhaling 9/11

Anybody living and breathing within 20 miles of the WTC on 9/11 should read this article on BLDBLOG.

As my doctor put it: “You are a living lab experiment. The entire island and surrounding areas are a living lab experiment.” We were living near Houston Street when the buildings fell. The windows of our apartment were covered in dust, and the stench was unbearable. Reading the above, I’m grateful that I was paranoid enough about air quality to immediately rent a car, and leave the following morning. I’m also grateful that we’d been planning our move to California at the end of Oct (despite living in NYC for another month after 9/11.) HOWEVER, if it had not been for the trusty EPA declaring that air and water quality were “safe,” we probably would not have gone back to NYC. I would’ve holed up at my parents’ and not spent our last month breathing NYC air and drinking the water.

I don’t know who to be angry with – it’s not like they were going to evacuate the entire island of Manhattan – but they should have been honest with the public. No matter the outcome. People had a right to get the hell out of Dodge. No matter what that meant for NYC’s economy or whatever fueled their decision to *keep the peace.*

What boils my blood more than anything is that the EPA did not enforce MANDATORY gas masks for all rescue workers. I can understand that with the initial chaos it was difficult to dole out, and fit gas masks properly, but by day three, gas masks should’ve been nonnegotiable. Pure common sense dictated the air was swimming with carcinogens, i.e. the twin towers were a well-known asbestos hazard. It’s unpardonable. But, what to do? Who to blame? The damage is done. I hope a lesson has been learned. If there’s ever an environmental disaster in your neck of the woods, use common sense, follow your instincts and take your health into your own hands.

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