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EPA Hit With Ground Zero Lawsuit


NEW YORK, March 11, 2004
The firefighters, police and others who spent months at Ground Zero searching for bodies weren't the only ones exposed to unusual pollutants in the air. (AP)

Quote

Many of the estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people who volunteered or worked at Ground Zero in the aftermath of Sept. 11 have reported developing health problems that were still present two years later.


(AP) Residents and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, saying the agency improperly let thousands of people return to their homes and businesses after the World Trade Center collapsed.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan accused the agency of making misleading statements about air quality after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, said the EPA left people "unnecessarily exposed to potentially hazardous levels of asbestos and possibly other carcinogens and toxic substances."

It accused the agency and its leaders, including former EPA Administrator Christie Whitman, of "a shockingly deliberate indifference to human health."

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and reimbursement for cleanup and asks the court to order a fund be set up to finance medical monitoring for conditions resulting from exposure to trade center dust.

The agency, in a statement, said it had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment directly on it, but defended its staff's "remarkable feats" after the attacks - including the monitoring and sampling of air, dust, and river and drinking water.

The EPA also said it provided thousands of respirators for response workers, conducted studies of indoor cleaning methods, and cleaned and tested thousands of homes in lower Manhattan.


©MMIV The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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