Letter to the Editor

Administration avoids issues of 9-11 toxins

Saturday, September 13, 2003

To the editor:

Earlier this summer I visited New York. I viewed the World Trade Center site where work teams were still hauling away rubble. Workers were wearing protective clothing and breathing apparatuses, which made me wonder if I should be too.

In addition to those who died on 9-11, tens of thousands in the surrounding area continued to be exposed to toxins as fires continued for months. Even now, toxic residues from the WTC are still present. The EPA's inspector general reports that a proper cleanup of the surrounding area has yet to be conducted.

In August 2003, the EPA inspector general disclosed that the White House "convinced EPA to add reassuring statements [in news releases] and delete cautionary ones, and that the EPA's best professional advice was overruled." Moreover, "All EPA statements were cleared in advance by the White House." Residents were told the air was safe before sufficient testing had been performed. Additionally, the former EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, stated she had held back critical information the EPA scientists had included in draft news releases -- per the White House.

After 9-11 Americans looked to their government for leadership. Residents returned and Wall Street reopened because the air was "safe." Our heroes in uniform did not use breathing apparatuses because the air was "safe," Now over 40 percent have severe respiratory complications.

This issue demonstrates that when citizens need honesty from the Bush administration the most, they should believe it the least.


Perryville, Mo.