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source: New York 1 July 25, 2010
In addition to the emotional trauma they faced after the World Trade Center attacks, students who went to schools in Lower Manhattan say they are also facing respiratory problems, and now they also want the federal government’s help.
Current and former students were told it was safe to return to class after September 11th, and they did, exposing themselves to the same toxic air inhaled by first responders.
“They were minors during 9/11; they had no options. They were ordered back to school because the EPA said that the air was safe, and they had no ability to say yes or no,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “And now we’re finding out that it may be that some of these children are going to come down with very serious illnesses.”
“A major driver of lymphoma is being exposed to excessive amounts of toxins pollutants, which is exactly what we inhaled when we were down here after September 11,” said former Stuyvesant High School student Amit Friedlander, who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “So I think, whether or not my cancer came from September 11, there definitely will be a lot of people who will be getting sick.”
The families are calling on the federal government to provide money for medical screening and health insurance for the students.
NY1’s Nicole Johnson filed the following report.
Olivia Goodkind is celebrating her birthday but not the typical way a ten- year- old celebrates. She is front and center at a news conference addressing 9/11 health concerns facing students who attended school near the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks.
“I really think we should do something,” said Goodkind. “Do something really fast, really soon, because something worse will happen.”
Olivia’s worry is that one out of three of her classmates at P.S. 89 carries an inhaler, according to Olivia and her father.
“It’s like at my school everyone shows them off,” said Goodkind. “It’s like the latest thing, like a style in a way.”
This is not a good thing in the eyes of these parents and elected officials. And that is why they are calling on the federal government to provide funding for medical screening and health insurance to help children suffering from 9/11 related illness, similar to what lawmakers want for first responders and Lower Manhattan residents.
“We want to demand that the federal government recognize that there is serious health risk associated with the aftermath of 9/11 especially for our young people,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
Amit Friedlander, a former Stuyvesant High School student, feels like his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma developed after he and other students were told it was safe to return less than a month after the attacks.
“I’m mad about being sick,” said Friedlander. “I don’t think I have anyone to be mad at other than the terrorists.”
But other students and parents are mad at the government, saying they were lied to about the air quality. Their complaints are coming less than a month after lawmakers accused the Environmental Protection Agency and former Director Christine Whitman of the same thing.
“Eventually we learned that the school building had not even been cleaned thoroughly as promised,” said Lila Nordstrom, a former Stuyvesant High School student. “Yet to date, no monitoring of out health from 9/11 has ever been done.”
Even though Friedlander is not sure his illness is 9/11 related he hopes his story can help others.
“I used to never get sick,” said Friedlander. “Once I started to go to college, I was, and still am, sick all the time. And if I had known at the time that it was symptoms of cancer maybe I’d been able to stop it early. I wasn’t able but, if other people can, I’d be happy.”
Stringer also says he will continue fighting to get the children affected the health care they need. In the meantime, parents are not letting this go by without a struggle. They say in this case the government left their children behind.