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Reps. Fossella & Maloney Announce Appointment of 9/11 He

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reps. Fossella & Maloney Announce Appointment of 9/11 He
From Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:00 am to Wed Mar 01, 2006 2:59 am (included)
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For Immediate Release Contact: Craig Donner
February 27, 2006 (718) 356-5039; Cell (917) 301-8792
Joe Soldevere (Maloney)

(212) 860-0606; Cell (646) 873-0745

Reps. Fossella & Maloney Announce Appointment of 9/11 Health Coordinator to Oversee Feds' Response to Ground Zero Health Impacts

Dr. John Howard Will Be Charged With Ensuring New Yorkers Impacted by 9/11 Get Access to Medical Care, Monitoring Programs & Other Information

[Washington, DC] -- Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY13) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY14) today announced the appointment of Dr. John Howard, Director of the federal National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to serve as the federal government's coordinator to oversee the response to Ground Zero health impacts.

The lawmakers called for the appointment of a 9/11 health coordinator on January 25th and have been working with federal Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt since then to have a seasoned health professional assume control for overseeing the monitoring and treatment of those who are injured or sick.

Fossella said, "It is essential that the federal government have one individual who is directly responsible and accountable for overseeing the massive response to those who are sick or injured from Ground Zero. I am delighted that Dr. Howard has agreed to assume this important role, and I look forward to working with him to ensure that those who are sick or injured get the care they need. The long-term health impacts of 9/11 will remain unclear for many years, making it all the more important that we have a fully coordinated effort tracking the health and well-being of the responders. We also need to ensure that treatment is available to those who are sick or injured today as well as workers who fall ill in the future. With $125 million in federal funding for New York City recently restored, Dr. Howard will be best positioned to meet the extraordinary challenges confronting the sick and injured. I want to thank Secretary Leavitt for recognizing the importance of creating this position and Congresswoman Maloney for being a strong partner in this effort."

Maloney said, "Until now, the federal response to the health impacts of 9/11 has been missing in action. I'm encouraged that Secretary Leavitt appointed Dr. Howard to coordinate federal efforts to deal with this crisis. As Dr. Howard will learn in our hearing on Tuesday, the administration has largely failed to be there to help the heroes of 9/11 in their time of need. I look forward to working with him to make up for lost time -before it's too late."

Dr. Howard currently serves as Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The lawmakers said Dr. Howard's first order of business must be ensuring that an exhaustive medical screening and monitoring program encompassing a large pool of responders and residents is operational. Dr. Howard's other responsibilities would include (but are not limited to):

Overseeing the distribution of federal funding for programs administered through NIOSH to enhance medical screening and monitoring programs;

Ensuring that appropriated federal dollars are dedicated to treatment, and
Bringing together the collective talents of the medical and scientific communities to help develop a plan to help all those who are ill from 9/11.

Fossella and Maloney called for the appointment of a Health Coordinator following the recent deaths of three 9/11 responders -- EMTs Timothy Keller, 41 (June 2005), Felix Hernandez, 31 (October 2005) and NYPD Detective James Zadroga, 34 (January 2006).

It is believed that tens of thousands of first responders, federal employees and lower Manhattan residents and workers are suffering from health problems likely caused by exposure to toxins at or near the World Trade Center site, including asbestos, lead, mercury, powdered glass and other carcinogens that were stagnating in the air.

The World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program found that roughly half of the 16,000 people followed have a medical condition resulting from 9/11. A New York City Fire Department study reported similar findings. Other screening programs have not fared as well. One initiative geared to State workers was terminated while another for federal rescue workers was closed after screening only 400 of the approximately 10,000 federal responders at Ground Zero.


<<Fosella WTC lttr.pdf>>

Craig Donner
Press Secretary
Office of Rep. Vito Fossella (NY-13)
(718) 356-8400 main
(718) 356-5039 direct
(718) 356-1928 fax
(917) 301-8792 cell
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