When the World Trade Center fell on September 11, 2001, the force kicked up a massive amount of dust. We know now how dangerous this dust was, with millions of tiny toxic particles contained therein. Those who were on the scene at the time and in the weeks after were exposed to the dangerous conditions. Since then, diseases related to this exposure have struck hundreds of people, and many have died as a result.
Following the attacks, many agencies and individuals grappled over whether the conditions were safe at Ground Zero. One of these agencies was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2010, a senior agency chemist accused the EPA of covering up information on the toxic nature of the dust emanating from the site. That chemist was fired as a result of her accusations in December 2010.
In May 2012, however, she got her job back with full back pay and benefits due to a court decision that ruled her termination as retaliatory. Whistleblowers are protected under federal law, and it is illegal to terminate someone for criticizing the improper actions of an employer.
The judge found that the EPA dismissed the chemist because she reported her findings to Congress, the FBI and news media outlets, and accused the EPA of covering up the safety of air conditions. Her reports indicated that the EPA purposely adjusted corrosivity standards to make it appear that the conditions at Ground Zero were safe, when in fact they posed a threat to workers.
Many people have experienced health problems related to their exposure to dangerous toxins on and after 9/11. If you believe you or a loved one are dealing with these issues, meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Barasch, McGarry Salzman & Penson in New York.