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Three WTC OSH-related Daily News articles
Nov. 20, 2001

Feds, City Ignore Asbestos Cleanup Rules, Says EPA Vet

A veteran scientist at the federal Environmental Protection Agency is charging that her agency and the city Health Department are ignoring federal asbestos-abatement law in buildings around the World Trade Center disaster site.

In a scathing memo circulated last week within the agency, Cate Jenkins, a 22-year EPA employee, charged that top brass have "effectively waived" the EPA's "strict national regulations for removal and disposal of asbestos contaminated dust" by recommending that residents and commercial building managers in lower Manhattan follow the "extremely lenient (and arguably illegal) asbestos guidelines of the New York City Department of Health."

In her memo, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily News, Jenkins noted that the EPA's testing had identified at least 30 locations, some five to seven blocks from Ground Zero, where asbestos levels in dust samples were above the 1% "action level" cited in the federal Clean Air Act.

That law requires elaborate and strict procedures for asbestos removal to be followed and the use of trained asbestos cleanup companies.

"We haven't waived any regulations," said Walter Mugdan, the agency's regional counsel, who insisted Jenkins was misreading the law.

"She [Jenkins] assumes that they [the regulations] apply to the cleaning up of dust in residential or office buildings in lower Manhattan.

"When they were written, they were never intended to apply to something like a terrorist act. These regulations apply to owners and operators of a facility who are carrying out a demolition or renovation. They were never contemplated to apply to someone cleaning an apartment," Mugdan said.

"This is not an academic or scientific argument," Jenkins said yesterday. "Our regulations are very specific. They don't allow you to do this. We've had a breakdown where the federal EPA and the city are scrambling to get everything back to normal, and they're ignoring the law."

Jenkins, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry and works for the agency's Washington-based Hazardous Waste Identification Division in the Office of Solid Waste, said she believes her colleagues "are afraid to say anything."

'Ludicrous' Advice

Some of the advice the Health Department has posted for people on how to remove dust in their apartments, Jenkins said, is "ludicrous." One example, from the department's Web site: "If curtains need to be taken down, take them down slowly to keep dust from circulating."

"EPA regulations do not allow anyone to oversee and perform ... asbestos removal, such as a resident in an apartment building or a building owner," Jenkins said.

Safety Guidelines Set For WTC Site Workers:
Dems Seeking Cleanup Czar

By GREG GITTRICH and FRANK LOMBARDI Daily News Staff Writers November 20, 2001

Government and union leaders hammered out guidelines on safety for Ground Zero workers yesterday as a group of elected officials urged Mayor Giuliani to name an environmental cleanup czar for downtown.

"We want the workers to be safe," said Donna Miles, a spokeswoman for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

While not all the details of the agreement were available yesterday, the pact will require workers to complete a health and safety training program.

"The safety standards are going to be strictly enforced," said Louis Coletti, chairman of the Building Trades Employers' Association, which represents 1,500 construction managers and subcontractors.

Meanwhile, a group of elected officials released a privately conducted air quality study that found extremely high levels of asbestos in two buildings near Ground Zero in mid-September.

Too Many Cooks?

The group, the Ground Zero Elected Officials Task Force, requested "the designation of one city agency to oversee all environmental aspects of the debris cleanup in lower Manhattan."

Asbestos Taints Workers' Refuge

By GREG GITTRICH Daily News Staff Writer

Exhausted firefighters and cops their lungs hurting from the thick air around the collapsed World Trade Center wandered into the nearby Embassy Suites hotel on Sept. 11 looking for a place to sleep and something to eat.

For the next five days, the evacuated hotel served as a refuge for dozens of the city's Bravest and Finest and handfuls of volunteer rescue workers.

It may not have been the best place to go.

The still-closed hotel on the corner of North End Ave. and Vesey St. is the only building in the area with warning signs posted on its windows:



Front Page, Week Of:

4/16/05: Spectre to Introduce U.S. Asbestos Bill This Week

5/22/05: Individuals Injured by Asbestos Exposure Oppose Specter's Trust Fund Legislation

10/16/05: Victim's Organizations Form Asbestos Victims Coalition in Opposition to Asbestos Trust Fund Legislation

11/17/05: White Lung Mourns Jose Jesus Pessora

12/18/05: Frist Introducing Asbestos Bill in January

12/04/06: Asbestos Watch Newsletter: Help Celebrate the 27th Anniversary of the WHITE LUNG ASSOCIATION

Jim Fite's Alerts:

Asbestos Victim's Superfund Compensation Program

Asbestos Watch March 14, 2005 (Maryland chapter of the White Lung Association meetings)

Directorate of Safety, Health, and Environment (open letter)


Joe Oliver's Alerts:

Joe Oliver, National Board Member and former President of the White Lung Association, has issued a call to all persons to help gather evidence on the conspiracy by asbestos trade organizations to suppress the knowledge about the hazards of asbestos exposure.

If you know anything about this horrific history or have documents which can be used to further prove their heinous crimes, please contact Joe Oliver, WLA, POB 1483, Balt. MD 21203.

Leonard Makowski's Alerts:

The White Lung Association stands in opposition to The Specter Bill (S.852)

WLA Alerts & News

S.1115: Bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products - This bill is supported by the WLA.

Meet Mr. Asbestos

Proceedings of the Asbestos Symposium for the Asian Countries - now available for purchase.

Australia Bans Asbestos!



Senator Specter Breaks Promise to Mesothelioma Patient and Research Community

Senate Judiciary Committee returns to Mark-Up on May 11th: Proposed asbestos trust fund legislation will further penalize victims of asbestos-caused diseases


World Trade Center Health:

In May 2003, the Global Environment & Technology Foundation developed the "Asbestos Strategies" report.

British Asbestos Newsletter:

The latest issue is Spring 2005


News from India:

The latest issue is January 4, 2007



December 17, 2000 is Asbestos Hazard Awareness Day


Current Projects:

Asbestos Museum


Articles & Publications:

Occupational Respiratory Diseases: Asbestos Associated Disease -- Reprinted from: Maxcy-Rosenau Public Health and Preventative Medicine 11th ed. (John M. Last, Ed.) 1980, Appleton-Century-Crofts

Asbestos Victims Deserve Compensation Not Betrayal: position release by the Board of Directors, White Lung Association



In Memoria:

Paul Safchuck May 21, 2003

Dr. William Nicholson Dies at 70

Ray Sentes Brave Fighter For Asbestos Victims

For more information please contact info whitelung org.