White House Pressed EPA to Say Air Was Safe After 9/11

In the days immediately following the 9/11 attacks, the White House pressured the U.S. EPA to issue unsupported statements reassuring the public that air quality around ground zero was safe, according to an investigation by the EPA’s inspector general. Also, as a result of “influence” from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the EPA omitted from its press releases information about potential health threats from the World Trade Center debris, the inspector general’s draft report found. EPA and White House officials dispute the report’s conclusions, saying they are oversimplified. Meanwhile, thousands of 9/11 emergency workers and other New Yorkers continue to seek assistance for a wide range of health problems that cropped up after the terrorist attacks, including respiratory ailments and pneumonia.