EPA Corrosive Dust Regulations to Come under Scrutiny Amid 9/11 Health Concerns, Parker Waichman LLP Comments

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After numerous 9/11 first responders became ill due to toxic dust exposure, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to respond to complaints about its current standards for corrosive dust limits. The agency’s decision is a response to a lawsuit filed by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and an EPA chemist who allege that current standards put people at risk.

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We hope for swift action and stricter regulations based on current scientific evidence and hope that these regulations will prevent future tragedies.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has spent many years fighting to ensure that the heroes and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are never forgotten, comments on recent legal action involving toxic dust exposure at the Ground Zero location. According to court documents, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will consider imposing stricter limits for corrosive dust after 9/11 responders became ill due to Ground Zero toxic dust exposure. The formal rulemaking petition, filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and an EPA chemist, is In Re: Cate Jenkins, et al. Petitioners v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, USCA Case #14-1173. The action was filed in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

According to court documents, the formal rulemaking petition urges the EPA to revise its inaccurate and harmful corrosivity limits one decade after the 9/11 attacks. The petition—for writ of mandamus (In Re: Cate Jenkins, et al. Petitioners v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, USCA Case #14-1173, filed in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit)—seeks court-mandated action within 90 days. The court ordered the EPA to respond to the petition on October 8, 2014, according to court documents; EPA must respond to the petition by March 31, 2016 with its determination on federal corrosivity standards.

Rulemaking petitions help enable individuals and entities to have a rule or a rulemaking action issued, amended, or repealed. In this case, the petition and rule involves the EPA, Parker Waichman indicates. A writ of mandamus is a court order to a government entity or official to correct or appeal a prior decision. In this case, the issue involves a petition to the EPA that went unanswered for three years; the current action falls under an agreement to hold in abeyance legal proceedings between the EPA and PEER. With more 9/11 survivors and responders suffering from emerging ailments, it is crucial that certain rules and regulations be updated, such as corrosivity limits, which are outdated and ineffective, explained Parker Waichman.

Parker Waichman notes that a number of responders became ill due to toxic dust exposure related to the 9/11 attacks. These tragic illnesses, which in some cases have been fatal, have shed light upon the lax EPA regulations involving corrosive dust. “We are pleased that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington D.C. Circuit has directed the EPA to review its corrosive dust standards and to see the issue moving forward, but there is a long way to go,” said Matthew J. McCauley, Senior Litigation Counsel at Parker Waichman LLP. “Sadly, some 9/11 first responders and survivors have already suffered the consequences of the current standards. We hope for swift action and stricter regulations based on current scientific evidence and hope that these regulations will prevent future tragedies.”

Parker Waichman comments that the corrisivity issue further highlights the need to reauthorize the Zadroga Act, which provides medical treatment, monitoring, and compensation to responders and survivors who became injured or ill due to the attacks. “Extending the Zadroga Act is crucial to responders and survivors who suffered from this type of toxic dust exposure, as well as other injuries.” said Mr. McCauley. “Some symptoms are taking years to emerge and to be associated with the toxins in and around the Ground Zero site. It is critical that all those impacted receive the same care and benefits.”

Parker Waichman has actively worked toward passage of the Zadroga Act, which was passed in 2010. The firm’s actions include, in part, lobbying efforts and trips to the nation’s capital led by Mr. McCauley, often, along with the firm’s clients. Mr. McCauley and Parker Waichman continue to support the Zadroga Act and continue to support efforts to extend the Act’s timeline and its scope.

The attorneys at Parker Waichman have represented many individuals who have been exposed to toxic substances and hazardous chemicals that may lead to serious injury and death. “Many of our lawyers practice exclusively in the area of toxic torts and are aggressively investigating the myriad toxins present at Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks of 9/11,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman. “We are pleased that the EPA is looking into its corrosivity rules.”

Parker Waichman LLP, which worked, and continues to fight, alongside Ground Zero first responders, survivors, and their advocates, to help ensure passage of the Zadroga Act and its amendments,vows to continue its efforts to safeguard these heroes and ensure that they receive all of the Zadroga Act compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one are eligible for compensation under the Zadroga Act, and would like assistance with your claim, or if you or a loved one have been injured as a result of toxic exposure, please visit Parker Waichman's website or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

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