Citing inadequate control over environmental hazards following 9/11, a NY congressman is urging the EPA and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take an active role in making sure people cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy stay safe.
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), representative of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan communities hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, wants the agencies to comprehensively test and remediate for mold and environmental toxins present in New York homes and workplaces as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
These substances are known to pose serious and immediate health risks, especially for children and the elderly. Already, hundreds of private homes, businesses and institutions have reported widespread mold, sewage, and other contaminants in their buildings.
In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate outlining his concerns.
“Many residents of the low-lying areas of New York City – including lower Manhattan, Red Hook, Sea Gate, Coney Island and Brighton Beach in my district – live in buildings that were flooded,” wrote Nadler. “In many cases, it is unclear whether these homes are safe from mold, sewage or other hazardous substances that could adversely affect residents’ health.”
He said the EPA should conduct or oversee comprehensive testing to make absolutely certain that storm-damaged homes are safe to inhabit.
Nadler, whose district includes Ground Zero, said history should not be repeated.
“Given New York’s recent history with environmental hazards caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center, we know all too well the danger presented by indoor contamination. We must not repeat the same mistakes of 9/11 by leaving people to their own devices to clean up complex toxins without proper guidance or assistance from the federal government.”