Journalist & Investigative Reporter

Award-winning journalist & author of environmental books. Investigative reporter, columnist, &. mng. editor of the green-building site Solaripedia, public speaker. Sketch artist.

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Solar eclipse article

Anatomy of the 9/11 Risk-Communication Fiasco

When the World Trade Center and a wedge of the Pentagon came down on Sept. 11, the rubble left for rescuers and cleanup crews was laced with asbestos, heavy metals, diesel fuel, PCBs and dozens of other poisons. New York City was enveloped in a cloud of smoke, soot and toxic ash, and the fires at ground zero fumed for months, making it the longest commercial fire and one of the worst industrial work sites in history. Immediately the public clamored for advice. But how good was the environmental and health information in the wake of the disaster? A careful look at the surprisingly mishandled communications -- and the tragic consequences to the public.