Yesterday, the biggest news in New York was the release of an important study about the people who worked at Ground Zero: 70% of them have problems with their lungs.
In the largest study so far of post-9/11 health problems, almost 70 percent of workers who helped with the cleanup of the World Trade Center site suffered new or worsened respiratory symptoms, researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center found.

The study found that people who worked on the cleanup had pulmonary abnormalities of twice the rate in the comparable United States population and that the abnormalities persisted for many months and, in some cases, years after exposure.

The findings are based on medical examinations performed between July 2002 and April 2004 on 9,500 workers and volunteers who took part in the cleanup of the twin towers, doctors from the center said at a news conference today.

The report found a high rate of illness among those studied, and also found that the illnesses persisted in high proportion years after the 2001 event.

"Many who worked at ground zero in the early days after the attacks have sustained serious and lasting health problems as a direct result of their exposure to the environment there," Dennis Charney, the dean for academic and scientific affairs at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said in a statement issued with the report.

"This study scientifically confirms high rates of respiratory problems in a large number of responders — including construction workers, law enforcement officers, utilities workers and public sector workers," he said.
I have a very distinct 9/11 memory of seeing the workers - still thought of as a rescue workers - on TV, and saying, "My god, they're not wearing masks, what are they breathing? Are they all going to get asbestos lung damage?" A short time later, the US government ordered the EPA to falsify air-quality tests, in order to claim the air was safe.

Today the New York Times reports that 30% of New Yorkers still think about 9/11 every day.
Five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, two-thirds of New Yorkers say they are still "very concerned" about another attack on their city, a level of apprehension only slightly reduced from the fall of 2001, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News polls of the nation and New York City.

Nearly a third of New Yorkers said they thought about Sept. 11 every day. Nearly a third said that they had not gone back to pre-Sept. 11 routines and that they were still dealing with changes caused by the attacks.

Outside New York, however, Americans, in many ways, have adjusted to the "new normal" of the post-Sept. 11 era, the national survey suggests.

In contrast to the frantic fall of 2001, their fears of another attack seem less acute and personal. Only 22 percent in the national poll said they were still "very concerned" about an attack where they live, down from 39 percent five years ago. Three-fourths said daily life had largely returned to normal.

New Yorkers were more likely to say that they felt uneasy about the prospect of terrorist attacks. City residents said they believed that the air quality in Lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11 attacks was more dangerous than officials said at the time.

And they were less likely to say the federal government had done all that "could reasonably be expected" to protect the United States from future terrorist attacks. Seventy-two percent of New Yorkers said the government could do more, compared with 58 percent in the national survey.

Nearly 6 in 10 New Yorkers said they would not be willing to work on a high floor in a new building at the World Trade Center site. Forty percent said they still felt nervous and edgy because of the attacks.
There's also a story about the divide between New Yorkers who've moved to New York after September 11, 2001, and those who lived in the city at the time. That's something I've often thought about, too.

The top US story today is the Resident's admission that the CIA has been holding terrorist suspects in secret prisons (the first time the White House has acknowledged the existence of the prisons), and that 14 detainees have been moved to the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay.

As we were leaving Canada, the biggest news was the five Canadian troops killed in Afghanistan. Allan and I tell our US friends, with amazement and admiration, how every Canadian death in Afghanistan garners tremendous news coverage. By contrast, Americans see and hear almost nothing about the continuing death toll in Iraq. Shameful.

This morning I see Michael Ignatieff, in his bid for leadership of the Liberal party, says Canada cannot pull out of Afghanistan because the mission is a "a moral promise". How convenient for him.

October 28th: Canada out of Afghanistan.

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