Energetic Materials as a Potential Cause of the 9/11 First Responder Illnesses Print
Tuesday, 08 February 2011 19:55

Originally published on http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/ February 4, 2011


The tragedy at the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11th, 2001 continues to affect many thousands of first responders who sacrificed their own health while restoring lower Manhattan and attempting to recover survivors and victims’ remains. Recently, H.R. 847, otherwise known as the James Zadroga Bill, was signed by President Obama in an effort to provide services and compensation for those whose health was compromised through exposure to the toxic dust and gases at Ground Zero. However, these first responders also need help to understand how their illnesses originated so that improvements in treatment can be made. In response to this need, concerned citizens should consider the possible correlation between evidence for energetic materials at the WTC and the environmental exposures which appear to have caused so many illnesses in the first responders.

The 9/11 first responders suffer from a range of different illnesses, some of which are rare in the general population. Some of the illnesses can be attributed to the high pH of the WTC dust. We know the extent of the pH problem thanks to EPA whistleblower, Dr. Cate Jenkins.[1] The very high pH of the dust inhaled by 9/11 first responders is a probable cause for the general deterioration of lungs and their function, due to the dust’s corrosive state. As Dr. Jenkins wrote, “Corrosivity would have acted directly to cause respiratory chemical burns, and also would have increased the toxic properties of other pollutants from the WTC by facilitating their entry into the body through the respiratory system.”

Commonly observed conditions among first responders include reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS), caused by exposure to high concentrations of irritants such as caustic and metallic dusts; upper respiratory illnesses such as sinusitis and laryngitis; and lower respiratory disorders such as asthma and what is known as World Trade Center cough.

Less understood, and requiring further study, are unusual illnesses of the immune system commonly observed in the WTC first responders. These include various types of interstitial lung disease, such as eosinophilic pneumonia, granulomatous pneumonitis, and bronchial obliterans. Environmental triggers for these illnesses include aluminum silicates, which have been found in the lungs of WTC first responders at high levels in “unusual platy configurations.” [2]

Other common WTC lung ailments include sarcoidosis, which is known to be caused by aluminum dust[3], and pulmonary fibrosis, which can be caused by aluminum oxide.[4]

These findings have, until now, lacked an adequate scientific explanation. But recent research suggests a correlation with the causes of the destruction of WTC buildings 1, 2 and 7. Aluminum oxide – a potential cause of the observed pulmonary fibrosis – is a product of the thermite reaction, and there is now considerable evidence for the use of thermite in the destruction of WTC buildings 1, 2 and 7.[5] Additionally, aluminum and silicates – potential causes of the observed illnesses of the immune system – are components of nanothermite formulations.


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