NY Post Spits on 9/11 Rescue & Recovery Workers
Two short days after the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the NY Post saw fit to attack and denigrate Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers by railing against renewal of the Zadroga 9/11 Health Care Bill. The Zadroga Bill provides healthcare and compensation for workers who got sick as a result of working at Ground Zero. The Post’s full editorial follows. (Points in BOLD are highlighted here for discussion below)
Ground Zero Dust-Up – Post Editorial Board
Once again, New York has marked the anniversary of that terrible day when savage men transformed lower Manhattan into a blood-stained battlefield.
Now that the commemorations are over, some of New York’s elected officials are pushing Congress to extend two key provisions of the Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, set to expire by 2016, for another quarter-century.
Like the original battle over the bill’s passage, this one is fraught with emotion and hyperbole: Rep. Jerrold Nadler claims that failure to approve the extension would be “a moral stain on this generation and the United States.”
Let’s be clear: Those heroic first-responders who rushed to Ground Zero and later became ill because of that selfless service deserve both financial compensation and unstinting care at public expense.
But the Zadroga Act is something else.
Because this act is virtually based on the unscientific assumption that any illness contracted by someone who lived and worked in lower Manhattan must have been caused by toxic dust at Ground Zero.
The name of the bill itself speaks to the problem. James Zadroga was a NYPD officer who died of a respiratory disease.
After an examination, the city’s chief medical examiner determined “beyond certainty of doubt” that Zadroga had died not from Ground Zero dust but from having injected ground-up prescription drugs into his blood vessels.
The ME, Dr. Charles Hirsch, later said he’d been subjected to intense political pressure to change his assessment.
Zadroga was far from the only one said to have contracted illnesses that couldn’t be linked to 9/11. Cesar Borja was another. He was reported to have died after putting in 16-hour shifts at Ground Zero.
It turned out he’d directed traffic for a few days several blocks away from the site and months after the attack.
A 2011 study published in the The Lancet, moreover, debunked the widely touted notion that Ground Zero toxins were causing “an epidemic” of 9/11-related cancers.
Americans are a generous people, especially toward those who suffer because of their public service to their fellow Americans.
But before we spend their money, we have an obligation to ensure we get the science right — so the money goes to those who deserve it. “Ground Zero Dust-Up” by Post Editorial Board NY Post 9/13/14
Now let us dissemble this nonsensical editorial:
“Rep. Jerrold Nadler claims”
The generally bipartisan video remarks of Rep. Jerrold Nadler calling for the bill’s reauthorization speak for themselves (below).
The Zadroga Act is not based on an “unscientific assumption.” The lead author of the Lancet 9/11 study cited further down in this Post editorial stated “[This study] demonstrate[s] the lasting burden of disease experienced by the brave men and women who responded in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.” (Juan Wisnivesky, MD, DrPH) The good doctor’s scientific conclusion (not assumption) is well grounded in science. Did the Post Editorial Board bother to read the Lancet 9/11 study it cites?
An autopsy independent of the NYC Medical Examiner’s Office found that James Zadroga in fact died of respiratory failure that was directly related to his time at Ground Zero. Note well that the NYC Medical Examiner is appointed by and serves at the leisure of the Mayor .
The officer’s family received 9/11 Line of Duty Death benefits after his passing in January 2007. The Post’s resurrection of a tabloid-spun controversy regarding the circumstances of Officer Borja’s illness is simply mean-spirited. Moreover, the Zadroga Bill was signed into law in 2011, four years after Officer Borga’s passing and the decision granting his death benefits. To be clear, Officer Borga’s death benefits were not granted under the Zadroga Bill. Why would the NY POST merge these unrelated issues?
The Lancet report/study cited simply does not say what the Post claims (to wit: “The Lancet, moreover, debunked the widely touted notion that Ground Zero toxins were causing ‘an epidemic’ of 9/11-related cancers”. ) The Lancet in fact concluded that “data reported in this issue show that 9 years after the attacks, rescue and recovery workers continue to have substantial physical and mental health problems.” The Lancet Executive Summary 9/1/2011 Moreover, as to cancer specifically The Lancet stated
“WTC-exposed firefighters had about 10% higher overall cancer incidence ratios than those expected in a similar demographic mix from the general male population in the USA and about 32% higher than in non-exposed firefighters (panel).” Early assessment of cancer outcomes in New York City firefighters after the 9/11 attacks: an observational cohort study Rachel Zeig-Owens, et al. Ibid.
In plain English, the Lancet study concluded that 9/11 Firefighter Responders showed a 10% higher cancer then would be expected in the general (non 9/11 exposed) male population. Given the latency period for cancers, one would reasonably expect these “cancer incidence ratios” to greatly increase over time.
** Why was The Post so dishonest in its editorial?** – “Grizzly Joe”
Here is Rep. Nadler’s edited remarks (OBS vid 1:43)
View this Youtube playlist to understand why you should support renewal of the Zadroga 9/11 health bill: