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WTC Neighborhood Residents Misled on Extent of Contamination

To add to the charges of the doublespeak of the Bush administration over WTC bombing, a new report admits that officials had misled people living in the neighborhood of the devastated site on the extent of contamination.

There is this famous sequence in Michael Moores Sicko, currently making waves in US - he stands at the front of a boat, surrounded by some of the men and women who volunteered at ground zero after 9/11 and have suffered physical and mental health problems ever since, and asks through a bullhorn that they receive the same medical treatment as the Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

Even the so-called enemy combatants seem to be doing better than those who selflessly cleaned up the debris was the message. Thus volunteers were left in the lurch. Even more insidious, residents of the WTC neighborhood have been lied to consistently.

The Government Accountability Office says that the federal officials did not provide proper information to the residents of Lower Manhattan on the extent of contamination in their condominiums and apartments.

According to the report, made public Wednesday during a Senate subcommittee hearing, the Environmental Protection Agency did not accurately report the results of a residential cleanup program in 2002 and 2003.

More than 4,000 apartments in Lower Manhattan were professionally decontaminated in that program, and the agency reported that only a very small number of air samples taken in those residences showed unsafe levels of asbestos.

But the agency failed to explain that 80 percent of the air samples were taken after the apartments had already been cleaned.

That was misleading, said John B. Stephenson, director of the natural resources and environment division of the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress. He spoke after testifying at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health of the Senate Committe
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