Sunday, April 09, 2006


DEADLY FIBERS: This shirt was worn by Yeheda Kaploun at Ground Zero on Sept. 11 and 12, 2001.A toxic examination by RJ Lee Group foud the collar contained 93 million chrysotile asbestos structured per square centimeter - 93,000 times higher than the normal 500-1,000 structures per square centimeter, which is the average amount of asbestos found in American cities.
Photo: Liz Sullivan

Remember the EPA lying about air quality in Lower Manhattan after 9/11?

This shirt puts the lie to that:


April 9, 2006 -- Sky-high toxic levels of potentially deadly asbestos still cling to the fibers of this ordinary white dress shirt - worn by a 9/11 volunteer for two days at Ground Zero, a shocking analysis sought by The Post reveals.

Community liaison Yehuda Kaploun volunteered at Ground Zero for 48 hours immediately after the attack, wearing the shirt as he watched good friend and beloved Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge die in a building collapse.

The volunteer kept his contaminated shirt packed in a sealed plastic bag until last week, when The Post sent the garment to RJ Lee Group laboratories for testing.

Analyzed portions of his shirt collar reveal a chilling concentration of chrysotile asbestos - 93,000 times higher than the average typically found in the environment in U.S. cities. That appears to be even higher than what the EPA said was found in the most contaminated, blown-out building after 9/11.

While there appear to be no specific regulations for asbestos levels on clothing, one lawyer for relief workers called the sickly shirt's amount "astronomically toxic."

It's the "high end of surface concentrations that you would find anywhere," added Chuck Kraisinger, a senior scientist for RJ Lee.

Testing also revealed the shirt was contaminated with zinc, mercury, antimony, barium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead and molybdenum. Tons of the heavy metals were pulverized and burned in the debris in fires that raged for four months.

The test results are especially frightening in light of last week's report by the Centers for Disease Control that 62 percent of those caught in the massive dust cloud suffered respiratory problems. Also, 46 percent of civilians living or working in the immediate area but not caught in the cloud still experienced respiratory problems - and 57 percent reported new and worsening respiratory symptoms.

Making matters worse, Dr. Mark Rosen, chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Beth Israel Hospital, said that because it can take decades for asbestos cancers to develop, "We just won't know the effect [of Ground Zero exposure] for years."

About 400,000 tons of asbestos were released in the World Trade Center collapse. David Worby, a lawyer for 7,300 rescue and recovery workers who inhaled the smoke and dust at Ground Zero for months, called the area "the worst toxic site ever.

"It's mind-boggling the poisons they made these people work through," Worby said. "The amount of dioxins there make Vietnam look like a kindergarten."

"It is an urgent situation. If the government does not act . . . in terms of setting up [widespread] medical testing . . . more people over the next few years will die of toxic diseases than died on 9/11."

Have a nice day, Christy Todd Whitman.

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