The Danger of Type 3 Asbestos
The terror attacks on the 11th September 2001 on the World Trade Centre in New York resulted in a total of 2,606 missing people.
A team of 12 ex police officers, known as ‘Team Rodeo’, volunteered to work on the ground zero site to help recover the missing people.
16 years on after the tragedy, the officer who formed the group, Tony Zeoli, has spoken out about the horrors he and the team faced.
He has written a book, ‘Rising from the Ashes’, detailing their experiences and the onward struggle they face.
He details how himself and the rest of team Rodeo have all suffered with their health as a consequence of inhaling type 3 asbestos dust, Jet Fuel and more.
Tony himself was diagnosed with skin cancer, dysphasia and sleep apnea in 2008.
His speech is affected, he can’t eat solid foods, and he suffers from an acid reflux disorder.
This led to two operations on his throat, which didn’t work, and so his digestive system is now in tatters.
And to top it all off, he also suffers from Type 2 Diabetes.
Tony explains that he and his team worked around the clock at ground zero in a desperate bid to find survivors.
They would sleep on site and work day in day out.
But it’s not just Tony that is suffering with his health after the terror attacks.
Other team members are also suffering with health complications.
Ken Cordo and John Soltes, both aged 65, suffer from a chronic cough, known as ‘the World Trade Centre Cough’ to medical professionals.
They also suffer from other multiple complications including skin cancer and sleep apnea, the worst being PTSD.
One other member of the team, Jim O’Hanlon, committed suicide by jumping off a bridge in 2009 after struggling for years with PTSD.
All 12 officers have suffered in one way or another.
Besides Team Rodeo, thousands of other people were exposed to the site following the terror attacks, and as a result, are now suffering from different illnesses, mostly cancers.
The World Trade Center Health Registry has now officially recognised 70 different cancers caused by exposure to fumes from the ground zero site.
They also recognise every lung disease, GERD, sinusitis, sleep apnea, depression, PTSD and asthma.
And they say the number of cases of 9-11 related diseases is increasing as time goes on.
First responders to the site are among those most affected.
Infact, to date, it is estimated that more than 750 first responders have died in the years since the attacks. Many from type 3 asbestos.
That equates to roughly a third of the amount of people who died in New York on the day of the terror attacks.
Reports have revealed that the air contained type 3 asbestos, human remains and mercury, amongst other toxic chemicals.
This was despite assurances at the time by head of the Environmental Health Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman, that the area was safe.
Apparently, air tests at the time came back clear.
This has left members of Team Rodeo and other first responders heartbroken and angry, as they placed their trust in the government.
Most of the dust created was from pulverised concrete.
This causes silicosis, a respiratory condition, in the majority of people who inhale it.
The remaining was a mix of macerated materials which are all directly linked to chronic diseases.
Also amongst the dust was type 3 asbestos and human remains.
Sadly, out of the 2,606 people who lost their lives that day, the first responders only found traces of 1,500.
In 2010, the government passed the Zadroga Act, acknowledging that the site was toxic.
They gave the go ahead to federally-funded compensation for first responders.
More and more people are developing illnesses due to the 9-11 attacks.
It is believed that the fumes also had an effect on children’s lungs and unborn babies.
Research is currently being conducted at New York University.
Lots of those involved in the aftermath of the terror attacks have gone onto suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome).
And the rate of cases looks like it will keep on rising.
PTSD affects people after they’ve experienced a harrowing event, like warfare, a car accident, or even sexual assault.
It can lead to severe depression.
A lot of the veteran officers still struggle with the condition after all these years.
Not many like to admit it, especially men, as there is still a stigma attached because it’s a mental condition.
In the early days following the disaster, they were offered many different types of therapy, but nothing helped.
Team Rodeo meet every week in a local tavern, and have done for 730 consecutive weeks since the attacks.
A former partner of one of the team, Jim Lynch, was killed in the disaster.
Two of his friends went searching for him after the attack and that’s when the decision was made to form Team Rodeo.
Jim’s body was discovered a few weeks later.
Meeting at the tavern every week, sometimes the whole group, sometimes just two or three of them, gives the group an opportunity to talk and reflect.
It acts a kind of therapy for them, the fact they have shared the same experience and all understand how one another feels.
Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/
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