Lung Out to Dry
Thousands of Manhattanites suffer post-9/11 respiratory problems
With all due respect to the Free-Floating Anxiety and War Fever afflicting many in the post-9/11 world (prescription: less talk radio), at least 15,000 people have actual medical complaints related to the attack. Many victims afflicted with “World Trade Center cough” assumed it would pass once the dust settled; instead, problems have intensified and more victims have fallen ill. The January death of a Ground Zero firefighter was “directly linked” to 9/11, according to the coroner. The 15,000 figure is compiled from medical reports, but 30,000 to 50,000 people may have been exposed to the lead- and asbestos-laden dust kicked up by the fallen towers. In the days after the attack, the U.S. EPA declared the Manhattan air safe to breathe and opened Wall Street to business; many victims are now pursuing a class-action suit against the agency.