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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Experts Cite New Orleans Disaster Health Risks

Disaster News Network chimes in with this story (sadly reported nowhere else) about a roundtable discussion health and environmental experts held.

One doctor not only warned residents to protect themselves, but drew the parallel to 9.11 and what New York is still dealing with because the EPA refused to take the health threat seriously. Note, when he says respirators, he DOES NOT mean paper masks. We've seen a number of pictures of people cleaning up wearing those. They will absolutely not protect you from most harmful particulate matter:

"In New Orleans and the South you will have dust and it will be made up of all kinds of things," said Lioy. "We're still tearing down buildings (in New York City) because we can't clean them up. This will also be an issue the South will have to deal with."

Related to the dust, Lioy said that knowing its specific make-up is crucial to cleaning it up correctly. "Characterize your dust now, know what's in it and know it well. It's not just one single chemical, it's multiple toxins. And those toxins may not alone impact people, but they could react differently mixed together."

Lioy also advised those present to make sure no one is left out during the cleanup phase and to make sure responders and workers are equipped with respirators. Pointing to an image of Ground Zero cleanup workers with respirators resting around their necks, Lioy cautioned the conference-goers.

"One of the most serious issues after Sept. 11 was that no one wore respirators (during cleanup)," he explained. "You need to make sure that not only government workers and large contractors have them, but that everyone has them and wears them."

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Could the mainstream USA media be buying into the "appearance of back to normal" gambit in New Orleans as was the case in 911? What would they do if the bird flu pandemic or another terrorist attack hits? In short, is the USA mainstream media slideing down towards the former Soviet Union model of reporting?

I think pop music, rock in particular, is way more about sex than classical music is. Much more directly, anyway. So it doesn't bother me there.

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  • We are a group of former Congressional staff, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff, and environmental group staff tracking and analyzing the news, in real time, from New Orleans from an environmental health perspective.

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