I commend you for including three articles on 9/11 in the 9/14/23 edition of The Brookhaven Messenger, and also a related graphic back page. 

 On 9/11/01, I was five minutes down the hill from the site of the World Trade Center. Six days later, City staff were ordered back to work. Federal EPA Director Christine Todd Whitman went on air and said, “I would like to assure the people of Lower Manhattan that your air is safe to breathe and your water is safe to drink.”   

In 2013, before a court of law, Whitman admitted that this statement was untrue (“materially false”).  While she was making her original claim, she was offering her own staff at the Federal Building on Broadway, a mile north of the attack site, hepa-filtered gas masks. What we got, at 180 Water, were little paper masks secured by a rubber band, the kind of mask that people buy from a hardware store in order to do heavy dusting.  

A university team from California and one of the EPA’s own staffs, who traveled into the area from Alaska, developed very different findings.  The investigative reporter Juan Gonzalez, in his book Fallout: the Environmental Effects of the Attack on the World Trade Center, states that the air was filled with potent carcinogens, including “the highest level of dioxin ever measured”.  

As you may know, dioxin was the chemical which caused massive fish kills in the polluted Hudson River.  The collapse of the buildings caused these toxins to go airborne, a perfect delivery system for illness.  The fires on the site continued to burn for almost a year and a half, sending pollutants airborne. 

As a result, I and many others are now World Trade Center patients. Or dead. According to the World Trade Center Health Program, upwards of 300,000 area workers, 100,000 first responders, 50,000 students and teachers, 25,000 residents and an unknown number of volunteers were exposed long term. The National Institute of Health (NIH) is conducting a longitudinal study of developmental problems among infants born to women who were in the exposure group. There are cancer clusters among the former students at Murray Bergtraum and Stuyvesant High Schools. Stuyvesant, in addition, exhibits a cluster of scleroderma cases, described by a treatment professional as “ghastly”. 

In recognition of the adverse health effects of the 9/11 attack, Congress authorized the World Trade Center Health Act, and the later James Zadroga Bill, which provide health care and medications to certified victims. Unexplainably, some members of Congress refuse to vote for these appropriations!?   

Experts estimate that the World Trade Center (WTC) fund will run out of money by Fiscal Year 2025.  

To effectively remember the victims of 9/11, all American patriots must urge their legislators to vote for continued WTC  health funding. 

~Kathryn Nocerino 


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