Feds misled Manhattan residents about post-9/11 health effects, says report

The U.S. government misled New Yorkers about residential asbestos levels after 9/11, says, um, the U.S. government. In a report released this week, the Government Accountability Office takes issue with the U.S. EPA’s claims that only a “very small” number of indoor air samples were contaminated after the attack, and says it failed to explain that 80 percent of the 4,000 apartments tested had been cleaned before samples were taken. With a false sense of security, says the GAO, a mere 295 buildings chose to participate in a follow-up cleanup program, out of 20,000 eligible residences. The report was part of testimony before a Senate subcommittee reviewing the federal response to environmental and health issues after 9/11; committee chair Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) made clear her irritation, declaring, “We don’t have an explanation for the misrepresentations that put countless people at risk of exposure to chemicals that we know are causing illness and death.”