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Thursday, September 22, 2005

No Procedure in Place to Monitor New Orleans' Worker Health

This Gannett story is disturbing because, as it mentions, this is yet another parallel to the screw-up by the Feds after 9/11 in New York.

"The federal government has no comprehensive program in place to monitor the physical and mental health of emergency workers serving in polluted and stressful conditions along the devastated Gulf Coast."

In New York, the health monitoring system came under heavy fire. First, it started too late. Second, the screening was pathetic. Recent estimates are that 75% of the 9/11 first responders have become sick, and there are some gut wrenching stories about some who have died, because of their exposure to the toxic environment at Ground Zero. New Orleans first responders must be adequately protected and properly monitored, beginning immediately.


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Here is the response from GREENPEACE (I had written asking them for support in light of the failures of EPA in NYC follwing 9-11). To the point, they are sending/have sent monitoring teams to N.O. and will publicize the results:

"Thank you for your email and please accept our apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Greenpeace sends its deepest condolences to the communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The impact of this massive catastrophe on human health and on the environment is likely to last for years.

Greenpeace has identified more than 350 petro-chemical facilities, sewage treatment plants and hazardous waste sites that use, store and make toxic chemicals in the areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama that were the hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. While it is important to test for sewage and bacterial contamination of the affected areas, it is equally important to check for the presence of hazardous substances that may be leaking from facilities damaged by the storm. That's why Greenpeace has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Environmental Protection Agency, asking what measures it is taking to clean up the environment, and what its plans are for testing people's homes, drinking water and air, to determine if they are contaminated. We have also asked for a detailed account of spill prevention and emergency response plans that the petro-chemical facilities should have developed in preparation for Hurricane Katrina.

Greenpeace is concerned that the EPA will fail to effectively handle the toxic chemical contamination problem as thoroughly as it should. Greenpeace is sending a team of experts down to the areas effected by Hurricane Katrina this week. We hope to gather information on the situation at petro-chemical facilities and the oil industry in the Gulf.

In the days following Hurricane Katrina we have received hundreds of inquiries asking about Greenpeace’s involvement. We hope we have addressed some of your concerns. Please stay informed on our campaigns at www.greenpeaceusa.org and do not hesitate to contact Supporter Services with any additional questions.

For a green and peaceful future,
Jessica


==============
Jessica Miller
Supporter Services
Greenpeace USA
(800)326-0959
http://www.greenpeaceusa.org"

I live in CO. My daughter's doctor is a major in the Army Reserves. He's just finished doing checkups on over 300 military members who've been working in the NOLA area.

They are in bad shape. All showing signs of the toxicity they've been exposed to, forced to sleep in tents on the ground. The insects which are thriving in this environment are the ants! And all these service members are ant-bitten all over their bodies.

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