Thursday, September 13, 2007

Giuliani Continues to Duck
Responsibility for Health of 9/11
Firefighters and Recovery Workers

OKLAHOMA CITY – While he often evokes 9/11 on the campaign trail, Rudy Giuliani has yet to take responsibility for his role in exposing firefighters and recovery workers to debilitating toxic air at Ground Zero. When he campaigns in Oklahoma today, Giuliani should finally answer questions about this serious health issue, which has led to thousands of firefighters and first responders being treated for serious respiratory problems.

“The way Rudy Giuliani has bucked responsibility for this serious health issue speaks volumes about his shabby brand of leadership,” said Dr. Ivan Holmes, Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. “Giuliani should truthfully answer the concerns of the firefighters and 9/11 families who have sacrificed so much.”

Records show that Giuliani’s administration was aware of the toxic levels of asbestos in air samples of Ground Zero but he “sidelined” federal agencies with “extensive disaster response experience”. Giuliani's administration assigned clean-up to an unknown city agency and re-opened sections of Manhattan “despite knowing the air was toxic,” “overruling” the city's Department of Environmental Protection which found high levels of asbestos in 27 of 38 tests conducted before Giuliani refuted concerns about the air quality and said the “air quality is safe and acceptable.” [The New York Times, 5/14/07; UPI, 9/7/06; Giuliani, 9/28/01; New York Post, 9/7/06; Daily News, 9/6/06]

Thousands of firefighters have developed illnesses and what has become known as World Trade Center cough. “Beyond all doubt” the deaths of at least four responders were “a direct consequence of their service” at the WTC site according to the Daily News. [New York Times, 2/27/07; 5/14/07; Newsday (New York), 1/31/07; Daily News (New York), 7/25/06]

Firefighters and 9/11 family members have been angered by Giuliani's lack of accountability. As they noted in a recent video, Giuliani has not taken responsibility for neglecting the needs of city firefighters or his poor decision to put the emergency command center in the shadow of the World Trade Center. []

After Rudy Giuliani recently claimed that he was at Ground Zero “as often, if not more” than the recovery workers at the site, The New York Times proved that claim to be factually inaccurate. The reality is that for the period of September 17 to December 16, 2001, Rudy logged a total of 29 hours at Ground Zero, while many brave rescue and recovery workers worked 12-hour shifts every day.

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