Cover image for Fallout : the environmental consequences of the World Trade Center collapse
Fallout : the environmental consequences of the World Trade Center collapse
González, Juan, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton, [2002]

Physical Description:
150 pages : map ; 20 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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RA566 .G57 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Within days of the September 11th attack in New York City, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman, together with Time Man of the Year Rudy Giuliani, reassured New Yorkers that air "contaminants are either not detectable or are below the Agency's concern levels."

In fact, EPA tests taken at the time showed high concentrations of toxic materials in the air downtown, including asbestos, dioxins, and heavy metals. Con Edison and the Port Authority revealed--two months after the attack--that nearly 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel and transformer oils, much of it contaminated with low-level PCBs, had escaped beneath Ground Zero. And independent measurements of indoor air, widespread because the agency declined to test private buildings, showed astronomically higher readings.

Prizewinning journalist Juan Gonzalez argues that public officials misled New Yorkers about the real dangers of toxic contamination after September 11. Their failure may have profound effects on the long-term health of New Yorkers and the reputation of the ex-mayor.

Author Notes

Juan Gonzalez, a columnist with the New York Daily News, is a winner of the George Polk journalism award and recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Hispanic Academy of Media Arts and Sciences

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Among the consequences of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on September 11 was the release of high levels of toxic substances into the air, the street, and scores of buildings. Those substances included asbestos, lead, mercury, dioxins, furans, diesel fuel and oils, aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, and corrosive dust. Many of the survivors, rescue workers, emergency personnel, firefighters, police, and others who came in contact with these substances have developed serious ailments that will affect their health for years to come. Gonzalez, a prize-winning New York Daily News journalist, alleges that Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, OSHA inspectors, the New York City Health Department, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York newspapers lied to the public by intentionally downplaying the risks of exposure and the anticipated dangers. Information was suppressed, and those who tried to reveal the true extent of the damage were silenced. Gonzalez states that thanks to the efforts of politicians, lawyers, and ordinary citizens who refused to be intimidated, details about the disaster's environmental consequences were finally brought to the public's attention. This book is a tragic indictment of the breakdown of public trust when it was needed most. Recommended. Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Map of Lower Manhattanp. ix
Introductionp. 1
1. Day Turned into Nightp. 29
2. Ignoring the Lessons of Historyp. 41
3. Anatomy of a Toxic Nightmarep. 51
4. Ignorance, Lies, and Cover-up: The Asbestos Fiascop. 91
5. The Rescue Workers: Abandoned Heroesp. 117
6. Uncovering the Truthp. 127
Appendicesp. 135
Indexp. 143