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Public Statements

Disaster Area Health and Environmental Monitoring Act

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing the Disaster Area Health and Environmental Monitoring Act with my colleagues Representatives TIM BISHOP, SHAYS, SERRANO, MCINTYRE, MCDERMOTT, and SCHAKOWSKY.

During a disaster our first responders heroically rush to the disaster area with little regard for their personal safety in hopes of saving others. We owe it to them to at least monitor their health when it has been put at risk. Unfortunately, no such program exists. There is no better example of this than what has happened in the aftermath of 9/11.

Today, more than 3 years after 9/11, there are literally thousands of individuals who are still sick as a direct result of their work in and around Ground Zero. Included in the sick are police officers, firefighters, volunteers, residents, and area workers. Despite a clear need, there is still no one in the Federal Government in charge of caring for these individuals, there are no coordination among programs established to screen these illnesses and there is no Federal program that provides anyone with any treatment. This is why we are introducing the Disaster Area Health and Environmental Monitoring Act. This is the companion to S. 1279, which was introduced by Senators VOINOVICH and CLINTON in the Senate and passed by unanimous consent.

The Disaster Area Health and Environmental Monitoring Act would create a standard for a monitoring program following a disaster when the President determines a monitoring program is needed. This monitoring program would be set up to screen the health of affected individuals. By creating a coordinated monitoring program we can provide valuable information to affected individuals and we can assure our first responders that we will continue to care about the health affects after the disaster. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

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