Still More Zadroga
You may have heard that the The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009 was voted down the other day. I still take no position on whether the air quality at Ground Zero has contributed significantly to health problems of the workers on the pile. I'll leave that to the epidemiologists. We'll know one way or another whether this is another "Gulf War Syndrome" or not.
But the odd thing is that the Democrats insisted on keeping Zadroga's name associated with the bill. I hadn't looked him up in awhile, but here's a very good article on his death at that well-known neocon site, the New Yorker.
The type of material found in Zadroga’s lungs was also significant. Talc and cellulose are widely used pharmaceutical ingredients, Hirsch noted, but neither was considered a major respiratory hazard at Ground Zero: talc because it wasn’t found in the air in abundance; cellulose because it is not considered particularly hazardous. (The molecules are too large to pass through the elaborate filtering apparatus of the upper airway.) The absence of needle marks Hirsch deemed insignificant, because clean needles cause less scarring.
The truth of this is hard to gauge. Four months after meeting with Joe, I wrote to the Zadrogas’ lawyer, who agreed to fax me a copy of the results of James’s 2003 biopsy, the one that Joe had said showed extensive lung damage. The document that arrived was eight pages long: a comprehensive report on the various tests and their findings. But its import was unequivocal. The lungs had only minor abnormalities and showed no evidence of talc or cellulose. When I contacted a pathologist unconnected with the case to ask whether this could have been an oversight, he scoffed, explaining that, under the polarized light that labs use to spot foreign particulate matter, such particles shine out like stars in the night sky. Had the material Breton found in Zadroga’s lungs in 2006 been there in 2003, it would have lit up the lab.
Note as well that Zadroga's wife, who did not work on the pile, died suddenly. The cause is not known, but this is very suggestive:
In Florida, however, events took a strange turn. About a year after the move, Ronda died, suddenly, at the age of twenty-nine. The news came as a surprise to Joe. “We didn’t even know she was sick!” he told me. When I asked what could have killed Ronda so abruptly, Joe suggested that it was stress—the burden of looking after a young child and an invalid husband. “It was just too much for her,” he said. Reached by phone, Ronda’s mother would not talk about her daughter’s death. A family friend, however, said that the actual cause was blood poisoning, brought on by intravenous drug use, adding that “everybody down here knew what was going on.” A local investigation noted that, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office, Ronda’s lethal infection could not be conclusively determined to be the result of intravenous drug use. But track marks and multiple needle punctures were found on the body, and a toxicology report revealed non-toxic levels of drugs, including methadone.
Labels: James Zadroga