Hazards to Workers, Post-9/11 and Post-Katrina

By Tram Nguyen Sep 06, 2006

Workers who cleaned up after 9/11 are in the headlines today with the release of the Mount Sinai Medical Center study, showing that 70 percent of nearly 10,000 people tested have substantial respiratory problems after working at Ground Zero. The New York Times goes on to report that 40 percent of these workers either never had health insurance or lost employer-paid health insurance after they became too sick to work. Earlier this summer, in June 2006, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program released a report on the health and safety hazards immigrant workers face cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina. The report documents horrible conditions facing Latino immigrants contracted to clean and rebuild in the Gulf Coast: exposure to mold, asbestos, dead bodies and toxics without protective gear; many cases of the "Katrina cough"; and housing on muddy fields where showers cost $5 each. The long-term fallout from 9/11 should be enough ammunition to demand decent conditions and fair treatment for workers in the post-Katrina reconstruction. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/06/nyregion/06health.htmlhttp://www.workersdefense.org/Proyecto%20Defensa%20Laboral/Welcome.html