From Publishers Weekly
A celebrated specialist in environmental medicine, Keane (the deputy director of Rutgers Occupational Health Science Institute) had a leading role in analyzing the public health issues in lower Manhattan following 9/11. In the chaotic aftermath of the World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attack, he reports, "the rush to rescue without adequate personal protection... or knowledge of the potential effects of WTC dust" actually tripled the number of victims; some 6,000 first responders and rescue workers (especially those working in the first 72 hours) inhaled a blizzard of white dust released by the explosion and ongoing fires, leading to serious injury and illness (though it could easily have been worse, had winds not moved the smoke plume over Brooklyn and out to sea). In this comprehensive report, Lio chronicles the government's environmental and health assessment efforts, including many setbacks and pitfalls, and lessons that need learning; the most important lesson he derives is the need for greater preparedness in order to "minimize the acute exposure... among workers and the community" in the vicinity of a disaster without diminishing the immediate effort to rescue those in harm's way. Four appendices include an extensive bibliography, 10 tables on dust composition, and the peer review of the EPA's final report.
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A specialist in exposure science, which studies the interaction of people and pollutants, Lioy was involved in the analysis of dust generated by the destruction of the World Trade Center. Prefacing this general-interest presentation of his technical work, Lioy describes his experience of seeing Ground Zero in the days after the terrorist attack and includes photographs of his visits to collect dust samples. After expressing concern that workers were rather cavalier about using respirators, Lioy pitches into his main subject: what was in that dust. Although asbestos was present and, therefore, a great worry, Lioy stresses that it was not the major public health risk. Of greater importance was the general size and shape of dust particles, which influence how the human respiratory system absorbs them, and their chemical composition. Lioy also raises the topic of interagency coordination on 9/11; who’s-in-charge bafflement marred the response of environmental and health departments. Striving for public education, Lioy achieves his purpose for readers interested in the health effects of 9/11. --Gilbert Taylor
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