Toxic dust death added to 9/11 toll

Visitors at site of World Trade Center (AP)Felicia Dunn-Jones died of lung disease five months after Sept. 11, and last year her family asked that the city's medical examiner add her name to the death toll.

New York City Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch refused, writing back that his office could not link her death to the exposure "with certainty beyond a reasonable doubt."

That changed Wednesday, when Dunn-Jones was added to the medical examiner's list of attack victims. It marked the first time the city has officially linked a death to the toxic dust caused by the World Trade Center's collapse.

The 42-year-old attorney was caught in the dust cloud while fleeing the collapsing towers on Sept. 11, 2001. She died of sarcoidosis, a disease that causes inflammation and scarring in the lungs, on Feb. 10, 2002.

In explaining the reversal, Hirsch cited "accumulated scientific research" that concluded exposure to trade center dust can cause or contribute to sarcoidosis.

"Mrs. Dunn-Jones' exposure to World Trade Center dust on 9/11/01 contributed to her death and it has been ruled a homicide," Hirsch wrote. "Mrs. Dunn-Jones has now been added to the list of people who died as a result of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers."

The city puts the Sept. 11 death toll at the trade center at 2,750. Dunn-Jones will be listed on the Sept. 11 memorial when it opens in 2009, a spokeswoman for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation said.

A class-action lawsuit has claimed that dozens of deaths have been caused by exposure to toxic trade center dust.

A study published this month by a Fire Department of New York doctor linked sarcoidosis definitively to exposure to the toxic plume that enveloped lower Manhattan after Sept. 11. It found that firefighters contracted the disease at a much higher rate after the attacks than before.

New York lawmakers seeking federal funding for Sept. 11 health issues said more names should be added to the list.

"Sadly, we have known that Felicia is not alone and that others have died from ailments caused by 9/11," said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. "Dr. Hirsch must review the cases of other 9/11 heroes who, like Felicia, died in the prime of their lives."

A New Jersey medical examiner last year ruled that the January 2006 death of a retired police detective, 34-year-old James Zadroga, was "directly related" to his work at ground zero on and after Sept. 11.

Zadroga's father, Joseph Zadroga, said his son also suffered from sarcoidosis and that he and many others should be added to the list of victims with Dunn-Jones.

"I think that anybody that passes as a result of 9/11 should be listed on the wall," he said.

Dunn-Jones will be listed on the Sept. 11 memorial with the names of 2,973 people killed on Sept. 11 in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., memorial foundation spokeswoman Lynn Rasic said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who chairs the foundation, said his "thoughts and prayers are with the Dunn-Jones family."

"It is on their behalf and on behalf of all those affected by 9/11 that we are now building a memorial that remembers and honors the thousands of innocents that died," he said.


  1. Stoney13

    I suppose that we should be grateful that it isn’t only now being submitted in triplicate to the “Chief Assistant Ass-Kisser in Charge of Dingle-Berry Count Computations”, only to be returned for “lack of clarification”!

    Like so many times when government on either a local or federal level, has to deal with victims of horrific events, they stammer and stall, They pass the buck back and forth, They assign the asinine to divine their assignations. Hire lawyers, fire lawyers, and finally present, (at a press conference, spoon-fed to a incredulous populace, no less!), the victims’ widows, widowers, and orphans, a tenth of what they need, and a hundredth of what they deserve!!

    Any lawyer can tell you it is far easier to bury the dead than deal with the living! This always comes as cold comfort indeed to families struggling to pay insurmountable medical bills, and obscene funeral costs; On top of losing the paternal, or maternal rock on which their families are founded.

    The horrors of Katrina, and the sad adventures of “Helluva job Brownie” in Bureaucracy Land, along with the unfolding nightmare in Kansas, prove only too well that there is no room for a federal bureau to do what federal bureaus do when people are dying for want of basic needs!

    When the actions of profiteering, price-hiking corporations are ignored in the mad scramble to prosecute families for taking a few hundred dollars more than they were decreed to deserve, and FEMA Trailers rot in fields rather than be given to those that need them, one must wonder if such bureaucracies have the best interests of the victims at heart in the first place! And if they don’t, what fucking good are they, anyway!

    Stoney Browning

  2. Ardie

    What was in the dust clouds of 9/11? By and large there was powered asbestos (WTC was thick with it), and a lot of stuff that comes from tens of thousands of florescent lights such as pulverized glass and droplets of mercury. There was sulfuric acid as well, from the military Thermate used to pull the three buildings down. The dust cloud also had a Ph of 12 which is extremely caustic.