Repetition Instills False Belief in Parents
September 25th, 2002
To the Editor:
Having read your impressive coverage of the cleanup, I’d like to address the parents you quote who believe Stuy wouldn’t be open if it weren’t safe. These parents must have never heard of cover-ups. They must be unaware of the hearings conducted at the request of Congressman Nadler by the EPA Ombudsman which found incompetence, lies and conflicts of interest at all levels of government. They must have not been around last year when the BOE said the ventilation system had been cleaned and the school had undergone a thorough asbestos abatement.
Some facts: On October 9, the day Stuyvesant reopened last year, Dr. Thomas Cahill, University of California at Davis Professor Emeritus of Physics and Atmospheric Sciences, conducted tests a mile north of Ground Zero. Dr. Cahill heads the university’s DELTA Group for Detection and Evaluation of Long-range Transport of Aerosols. His tests showed that the level of very- and ultra-fine particulates in the air was unmatched almost anywhere but at the Kuwaiti oil fields.
Secondly, for half the days that the fires burned, Stuyvesant had levels of Particulate Matter (P.M.) 2.5 that were higher than at Ground Zero. According to the EPA, P.M. 2.5 is about one-twentieth the width of a human hair. It is too small for the nose to filter out and hence, penetrates deep into the lungs. Furthermore, as reported by the Texas Center for Policy Studies and Environmental Defense, chemicals, such as those found in the debris at the barge, can attach to P.M. 2.5, increasing the potential for adverse health effects.
Yet the BOE called all these levels the same thing they called the other anomalies that were found: “spikes.” They never said how many spikes it takes to goad them into action.
When Christine Todd Whitman, head of the EPA, declared the air downtown to be safe, she was acting at the behest of the business interests of this country that wanted above all to get Wall Street up and running again. Everything that has happened since then flows from that decision. The initial lie has been covered over with a thousand like it in the hope that repetition will make it true or will at least instill belief.
The parents quoted in The Spectator prove the accuracy of the second theory.
– Jenna Orkin
Parent of a former Stuyvesant student