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More allegations from EPA whistleblower

Brian Beutler / Raw Story | October 26 2006

An Environmental Protection Agency whistleblower who has long argued that her agency failed to issue proper warnings about air quality at the World Trade Center disaster site, has leveled new accusations against the agency, RAW STORY has learned.

As RAW STORY reported this past August, Cate Jenkins, an EPA biochemist, sent a letter to the New York congressional delegation, alleging that the inconsistent official reports about inhalant alkalinity were part of an intentional cover up by government scientists and officials.

Jenkins' latest sixty-page document, addressed to the acting Inspector General of the EPA, is in large part a compilation of her previous allegations, but also claims to offer new evidence that criminal fraud is to blame.

In the latest report, Jenkins contends that by failing to report that some of the particulates in the air constituted a severe health hazard--and by suppressing the results of tests for the presence of other toxic chemicals--the EPA misled the public about the dire health consequences of remaining near ground zero or participating in the clean-up effort in the days following the attack.

Tens of thousands of cases of lung disease have reportedly resulted from exposure to the smoke and pulverized debris that hovered in the vicinity of the disaster site for months after the towers collapsed.

Earlier this year, federal judge Deborah Batts ruled that then-EPA director Christine Todd Whitman had misled residents and rescuers when she pronounced that the air quality in lower Manhattan met public safety standards and necessitated neither a surgical mask nor a respirator.

John Manibusan, spokesman for the office of the Inspector General, told RAW STORY that he had not yet received the complaint, but added, “[Jenkins] has issued a number of complaints to our office, about the World Trade Center and other things. We always take a look at them. In some cases we issue a response. How long that takes depends on a lot of factors.”

Manibusan directed Raw to a 2004 official response to earlier Jenkins allegations of a conflict of interest in the peer review of EPA's assesment of ground-zero health hazards. That investigation found that though the “EPA's Contractor did not inquire whether the three panelists had received funding from industry or had publically expressed viewpoints on the issues to be reviewed,” they “did not find that the panel's input was biased,” or “that any of the panelists should have been excluded” from participating.

Jenkins' full memorandom may be read here.

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