Lila Nordstrom, Peters, Health, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Schools, Children, High School, 9/11, Students, Mental Health

Lila Nordstrom, Peters

Former kids from schools near Ground Zero battle health issues with unknown outcomes

People who were students in Manhattan on 9/11 are experiencing health effects of the toxic dust and debris.


Thousands of children were at school in lower Manhattan on the day of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Many are now grappling with the fact that they may face life-long diseases as a result of their proximity to ground zero.

People who were students in Manhattan on 9/11 are experiencing health effects of the toxic dust and debris.

Both Peters, now 22, and Nordstrom, now 35, are already facing what doctors say are 9/11-related health issues: Nordstrom has been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, asthma and a respiratory condition called rhinosinusitis and both she and Peters have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Nordstrom's case has been certified by the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).

"After the second tower was hit, [the firefighters who were gearing up] started to tell me messages to give their loved ones," he said."It was a lot of different people and a lot of different names and a lot of different messages and of course, being four, it was hard to account for all of them."

"The [message] that was always the most resounding personally to me was one that was to me: 'Grow up be a good man. Take care of your mother but be a good man,'" he told ABC News.

"I literally turned around and watched as the fire on the second tower disappeared and just started to run because everyone was running," she said, but noted that"I was asthmatic, so I didn’t get very far."

"The city had promised parents that all of these safety precautions had been taken," said Nordstrom, who also testified to this effect before the House Judiciary Committee in June.

Education Week reported at the time that the school system worked with the Environmental Protection Agency and city health and environmental officials to conduct the tests. On top of that, former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman said at the time that the air in lower Manhattan was safe to breathe, a comment she apologized for, although she said they did the best they could at the time with the information they had.

“The safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and we tested the air quality of many schools below Canal Street and in Brooklyn, and relocated six schools in the area for varying lengths of time,” Barbot said in the statement. “All air quality tests were done by EPA-certified contractors, and in some cases, the air circulation for a building was redone in order to keep our schools safe. We continued daily cleaning and air quality monitoring in buildings for months afterwards.”

"They wanted to reopen Wall Street and they wanted to send a message to our enemies that ‘New Yorkers are resilient and you can’t stop us,’ but boy are we paying the price for that mistake today," Barasch said.

It is unclear how many students who were in lower Manhattan that day have developed a 9/11-related illness or which sicknesses they developed. According to data from the World Trade Center Health Program, which is administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vast majority of the more than 95,000 enrolled in the program are responders (nearly 80%) as opposed to survivors. Of the survivors, 791 are under 35.

There were more than a dozen schools south of Canal Street in Manhattan, which is considered the exposure zone for the Victim Compensation Fund -- which provides compensation to responders or survivors who are sick or families of those who have died -- while the exposure zone for the World Trade Center Health Program extends to everything south of Houston Street in Manhattan several blocks north of Canal Street and parts of Brooklyn, Barasch said.

"I was graduating that spring from college and I kind of had this epiphany: ‘Oh, we’re going to get sick. We were there in the same conditions as these guys,’" Nordstrom told ABC News.

"Ultimately I think, we're never going to know because we don’t really know what was in the air," she said."There weren’t even measurements of the PAHs in the air until 10 days after."

"Nearly 20,000 children attended school below Houston Street on September 11, 2001, and were exposed to the toxic mixture. We do not know what World Trade Center diseases these now-young adults will develop," Moline said in her testimony.

"I know five people who have or have had lymphoma just among my classmates," she said.

"A lot of youth and a lot of people even younger than me can still see the extent of the illnesses in the coming years," he said."We still have our full lives to see the full extent of what might happen."

Read more: ABC News

smokeydogg777 The twin towers contained asbestos, the towers were getting old, but would cost to much to demolish/repair, because of asbestos, so silverstein leased them for a bargain, then insured them for 'multiple terror attacks', & the rest is history. How exactly? What those children were doing lying on the ground at the time is unclear

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