September 12, 2006

Rudy: My Health is at Risk After 9/11


Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said yesterday that his health and the health of his wife and his aides could have suffered from exposure to toxic smoke from the burning World Trade Center five years ago.

"I spent as much time here as anyone. She did. She did," Giuliani said, indicating his wife, Judith, and his spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel. "Joe Lhota did, and Joe got ill. Rudy Washington did and Rudy clearly got sick as a result of Sept. 11.

"We're going to have a get-together tonight with all the people that we kind of survived with. And I'll check with them ... I'm sure that some of these people are going to have symptoms, and maybe it's not now. They're going to have them five years from now or 10 years from now. And they should be taken care of."

Giuliani spoke to reporters at the tribute center for victims' families, near Ground Zero, after presenting $60,000 in checks to victims' charities from former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel's foundation.

He referred to Lhota and Washington, two deputy mayors during his administration. Washington initially was denied a workers' compensation claim for illnesses stemming from his work at Ground Zero. The city later backtracked and said it would pay his claim.

Giuliani said anyone whose health suffered from work at the trade center site is "entitled to the same support, the same assistance and the same help that the families got who lost loved ones here."

Asked about former federal Environmental Protection Agency head Christine Todd Whitman's assertions that responsibility for the wearing of masks by Ground Zero workers lay with the city, Giuliani said, "We certainly gave people instructions that they should wear masks."