Federal environmental officials did not accurately report the amount of unsafe air particles that were found in Lower Manhattan residents homes. 4,000 homes in the area were decontaminated after the World Trade Center collapsed; officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that a “very small” number of air samples contained unsafe levels of asbestos.
But, the EPA misled residents because 80% of these air samples were taken after the homes were already decontaminated. The reports gave the public a false sense of safety. These people have no way to know how contaminated their homes originally were. When a new residential cleaning project was proposed, only 295 out of 20,000 eligible residents wanted to participate.
“Residents are understandably reluctant to participate in what they consider to be a waste of time,” said Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who led the subcommittee hearing.
Christine Whitman, the agency’s administrator in 2001, will have to testify on Monday at a committee hearing in the House about how she handled the 9/11 disaster and how she chose to inform the public.