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Katrina Cough vs. 9/11 pulmonary disease

The HuffPost is on the case, pointing out the supposed similiarities of the EPA's response to both possible afflictions.
Previously: "Katrina Cough" due to mold, dust

New Orleans floodwater is not "toxic soup�

From this:

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana coast, flooding the city of New Orleans, journalists began reporting on a "toxic soup" of chemicals and dangerous microbes bathing the city. Based on no reported data, these stories nevertheless seemed reasonable; the city's sewer system had flooded, and thousands of cars, houses, and chemical storage tanks lay beneath water, which in part of the city reached more than 3 meters in depth. In addition, 24 Superfund sites are in the affected area, and the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard have tallied more than 400 oil and hazardous chemical spills.
However, research posted to ES&T's Research ASAP website (es0518631) finds that the water that drowned New Orleans was no more toxic than typical floodwater washing down an urban street after a hard rain. Researchers expressed surprise at the findings but warned that it is still unknown whether the muck left behind is toxic.
"We don't see the very elevated levels of toxics that would make you think of this water as toxic waste," says the study's lead author, John Pardue, director of the Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute at Louisiana State University (LSU). "What was so unique about this event was that we had such a large volume of water and so many people wading around in it for extended periods," he says...

Is EPA downplaying health risks?

Senators "from both parties" are up in arms:

While EPA officials have warned of serious health hazards from bacteria, chemicals and metals in the region's floodwaters and sediment, they haven't taken a position on New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's aggressive push to reopen the city.
"EPA may not be providing people with the clear information they need," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. "EPA should be clear about the actual risks when people return to the affected areas for more than one day."
A week ago, on a visit to the Gulf Coast, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson stopped short of judging Nagin's plan to allow certain New Orleans residents and business people back into the city. Johnson said it created "a myriad" of potential health concerns, and the agency was "very concerned about the opening of those parts of the city."
Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee also were skeptical of post-Katrina work being done by EPA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.
"The people of New Orleans need to feel safe, need to feel like there's a plan," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La.
The committee's chairman, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., expressed skepticism about the two-page government handouts on environmental and public health risks that EPA helped compile.
"It bothers me a little bit," Inhofe said. "How many people are going to see the report?"
EPA Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock said thousands of copies are being delivered door-to-door, at relief centers and other public places...

"Reckless and irresponsible" for EPA to say safe to move back to NO

Here's the latest word on the toxic soup:
1/10th of the weight of some sediment samples is from diesel and fuel oils...
There are "dangerous amounts of sewage-related bacteria"...
There's E. Coli...
There's increased lead and arsenic...
The petroleum products might take years to go away...
So, how dangerous is this?

William Farland, the EPA's acting science adviser, said he sees nothing in the sediment to suggest a big public health risk "as long as people are careful to remove the sediment, keep it from getting on their bare skin and clean it off if they do."

But:
Hugh Kaufman, a senior EPA policy analyst and a longtime whistle-blower within the agency, called it "reckless and irresponsible" for the EPA to imply that people moving back into New Orleans will be safe.

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