Sanjay Gupta

  • Aired:  09/07/11
  •  | Views: 49,920

Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses the contentious issue of the World Trade Center's carcinogenic dust and its consequences for 9/11 first responders. (8:06)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS CNN'S SENIOR

MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT.

HIS NEW SPECIAL IS CALLED

DR. SANJAY GUPTA REPORTS: TERROR

IN THE DUST.

>> WE HAVE FIRE, PLASTICS, OTHER

PARTS OF THE PERIODIC TABLE.

>> GOLD AND MERCURY FROM TENS OF

THOUSANDS OF FLORESCENT

LIGHTBULBS, BAD -- LEAD FROM

THOUSANDS OF COMPUTER MONITOR,

TITANIUM FROM PAINT ON THE TRADE

CENTER WALLS, ASBESTOS THAT

COATED LOWER BEAMS OF THE TRADE

CENTER BUILDINGS.

THERE WAS CEMENT, GLASS, CARPET

FIBERS, CEILING TILES, EVEN

HUMAN HAIR.

IN ALL 1.5 MILLION TONS OF THE

STUFF.

>> Jon: PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO

THE SHOW DR. SANJAY GROUP TA. --

GROUP -- GUPTA.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

SO IN THE SWIRL OF OBVIOUSLY ALL

THESE REMEMBRANCES AND THE

TEN-YEAR, THIS REALLY IS AN

ONGOING ISSUE, WHICH IS THE

HEALTH OF THE PEOPLE THAT WENT

DOWN TO THE POD, AND THAT'S WHAT

THIS SPECIAL IS EXPLORING.

>> NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.

I MEAN, IT'S BEEN A HUGELY,

SURPRISINGLY CONTENTIOUS ISSUE.

PEOPLE HAVE SUSPECTED FOR SOME

TIME THAT THERE IS A LINK

BETWEEN THIS DUST AND THE CANCER

THAT PEOPLE ARE SEEING.

HIGHER RATES OF CANCER.

PEOPLE NOTICE THIS PRETTY

QUICKLY.

THE QUESTION HAS BEEN, PEOPLE

HAVE SAID, IS THIS EMOTION OR IS

THIS SCIENCE?

AND NOW AT THE TEN-YEAR MARK

WE'RE STARTING TO SEE SCIENTIFIC

PAPERS COME OUT AND ADDRESS

THIS.

>> Jon: WHY DO YOU THINK WE

COULDN'T HAVE GIVEN THEM THE

BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT AND ERRED

ON THE SIDE OF MAYBE SPENDING A

YEAR ON A SMOLDERING PILE MIGHT

NOT BE GOOD FOR YOU?

>> I MEAN, YOU MAY KNOW THE

ANSWER TO THAT BETTER THAN I.

YOU'VE TALKED A LOT TO PEOPLE

ABOUT.

THIS I DON'T KNOW, JON.

I THINK PART OF THAT IS JUST

PERSONALITY.

PART OF THAT IS OUR ATTITUDE

TOWARDS OTHER PEOPLE.

PART OF IT IS ARE WE GOING TO BE

COMPASSIONATE PEOPLE WHO AIR ON

THE SIDE OF, OKAY, SO WE TOOK

CARE OF AN EXTRA GUY WHO GOT

CANCER THAT WASN'T RELATED TO

9/11 BUT TOOK CARE OF HUNDREDS

OF PEOPLE WHO DID, OR ARE WE

GOING TO DO NOTHING AT ALL?

I THINK THAT'S JUST... THE

AMAZING THING IS YOU TALK TO

THESE FIRST RESPONDERS, AND THEY

REAFFIRM MY FAITH BECAUSE OF ALL

THAT MAKES ME... IT SORT OF

CHALLENGES YOU FAITH.

THEN YOU TALK TO THESE GUYS AND

THEY'RE LITERALLY ON OXYGEN.

THEY'RE ON THEIR DEATH BEDS.

THAT'S NOT AN EXAGGERATION.

THEY SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT, IF

THERE WAS AN ATTACK TOMORROW,

I'D BE OUT THERE AGAIN.

AND THERE'S NOTHING FALSE ABOUT

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING.

>> Jon: IT'S IN THEIR D.N.A.

I TRULY BELIEVE IT'S IN THEIR

D.N.A.

THE QUESTION BECOMES: LET'S NOT

BE INSANE HERE.

A SMOLDERING PILE OF ANYTHING, A

SMOLDERING PILE OF BROCCOLI...

>> CAN'T BE GOOD FOR YOU.

>> Jon: NOTHING SMOLDERING IS

GOOD FOR YOU.

AND THESE GUYS WERE DOWN THERE

DAY IN AND DAY OUT WITH THE TYPE

OF PAPER MASKS A JAPANESE

BUSINESSMAN WITH A HEAD COLD

WEARS WHEN HE'S GOING DOWN THE

STREET INCH GOD'S NAME NEW YORK

WHAT WORLD WOULD THAT NOT CAUSE

THESE BRAVE INDIVIDUALS DISEASE?

>> I COMPLETELY AGREE.

IT'S AMAZING BECAUSE WE KNOW AS

YOU SAW, ALL THE COMPONENTS OF

THIS DUST NOW, THAT'S BEEN

STUDIED.

WE KNOW THAT SO MANY OF THOSE

THINGS, THEY CAUSE CANCER,

THEY'RE CARCINOGENIC.

WHAT WAS AMAZING IS YOU GOT THIS

WHOLLY UNIQUE SITUATION WHERE

ALL THESE CHEMICALS WERE THRUST

TOGETHER AT THE TIME OF THESE

ATTACKS, SO BENZENE WITH VARIOUS

OTHER COMPOUNDS, TITANIUM.

WE KNOW THOSE THINGS

INDIVIDUALLY CAN CAUSE CANCER

AND IN COMBINATION COULD BE EVEN

WORSE.

WHAT I THINK SOME PEOPLE WILL

SAY IS, LOOK, CANCER CAN TAKE A

LONG TIME TO DEVELOP.

IT CAN TAKE 15, 20, 30 YEARS.

SO WE'RE IN THE SEEING THE BIG

CANCER RATES THAT WE THOUGHT

YET.

WE THINK IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN,

BUT WE'RE NOT SEEING IT AS OF

YET.

>> Jon: THEY'RE COVERING

THINGS LIKE SCIATIC AND, YOU

KNOW...

>> CARPEL TUNNEL SYNDROME.

>> BUT NOT CANCER.

THEY SAY THE SCIENCE IS NOT

THERE, BUT THE SCIENCE OF

CANCER, WE STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT

CAUSES MOST CANCERS.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Jon: IF THEIR LEVEL OF

PROOF, THE BAR OF PROOF IS THEY

HAVE TO FIND A PERFECT

CAUSALITY, NOT EVEN A

CORRELATION, WILL THESE GUYS

EVER GET THE SATISFACTION AND

COVERAGE THEY NEED?

>> IT IS AN ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE

BAR TO MEET.

I THINK THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE

SAYING.

IT TOOK A LONG TIME TO DRAW A

CORRELATION BETWEEN SMOKING AND

LUNG CANCER.

THERE WAS A SHOW ON YOUR PIECE

ON ASBESTOS.

THAT TOOK 25 YEARS THE DRAW THE

LINK BETWEEN ASBESTOS AND

MESOTHELIOMA.

PEOPLE DIED WHO MAY HAVE

OTHERWISE BEEN SCREENED AND

TREATED AND SAVED.

IF YOU WAIT FOR THE SCIENCE TO

CATCH UP, WHICH IT MAY NEVER, AS

YOU'RE SAYING, YOU'VE WAITED TOO

LONG.

>> Jon: HAVE YOU BEEN

SURPRISED BY THE... THIS HAS

BEEN ONE OF THE MORE STUNNING

EXAMPLES OF PUSHBACK THAT I HAVE

EVER SEEN FROM A COMMUNITY.

IT DOESN'T FEEL LIKE THE SCIENCE

COMMUNITY, BUT THE GOVERNMENT

PUSHING BACK ON THESE GUYS TO

KEEP MAKING IT MORE AND MORE

DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO GET HELP

AND TREATMENT.

>> I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS.

I MEAN, AND YOU KNOW, YOU SEE

ADS AND FOR CAMPAIGNS, WHENEVER

SOMEONE IS RUNNING FOR OFFICE,

THEY INVOKE THE FIRST

RESPONDERS, YOU HAVE PICTURES OF

THEM.

I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW AGAIN YOU

WOULDN'T ERR ON THE SIDE OF

TAKING CARE OF THESE FOLKS.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> THE THING IS IT'S NOT JUST

TAKING CARE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE

SICK RIGHT NOW.

IF THEY ALLOW THIS SCIENCE TOE

MERGE AND PEOPLE START TO

UNDERSTAND, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO

COULD BE SAVED.

THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WILL GET

SCREENED KNOWING THAT WHAT THEY

WERE BREATHING IN COULD BE

PROBLEMATIC.

>> Jon: THE SPECIAL YOU'RE

DOING IS BASED ON SCIENCE, NOT

EMOTION.

THE GENTLEMAN YOU HAVE IN THE

SHOW...

>> THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER FOR

THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.

IT WAS INTERESTING BECAUSE HE

SAID THAT EXACT THING.

HE SAID, PEOPLE HAVE SAID DON'T

LET EMOTIONS CLOUD SCIENCE.

THEY SAID, HERE'S THE SCIENCE.

I GOT IT FOR YOU NOW.

>> Jon: SO THIS GUY HAS THE

SCIENCE NOW.

WILL THEY REVISIT THE RULING

THAT THEY WON'T COVER CANCER?

>> THEY SAID THEY KNOW ABOUT THE

STUDY.

TECHNICALLY THEY DON'T HAVE TO

HAVE VISIT THIS UNTIL JULY OF

2012.

THERE WAS A PETITION SIGNED

TODAY BY PEOPLE WHO INTRODUCED

THE ZADROGA BILL IN THE FIRST

PLACE WHO SAID THIS SCIENCE IS

COMPELLING.

THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO

HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS,

TRYING TO DO SOMETHING.

>> Jon: SO THERE ARE

INDIVIDUALS THAT COULD POSSIBLY

HAVE TO WAIT A YEAR BEFORE, AND

SICK INDIVIDUALS?

>> THEY'RE IN THIS DOCUMENTARY.

THIS GUY MARTY FULHAM, WHO MAYBE

IS WATCHING RIGHT NOW, BUT HE'S

LITERALLY... HE'S BEEN WAITING

FOR THIS FOR A LONG TIME.

AND, YOU KNOW, I HATE SAYING

THIS, BUT IT MAY NOT COME IN

TIME FOR HIM.

BECAUSE OF ALL THE THINGS YOU

MENTIONED, MATE NOW HAPPEN FAST

ENOUGH.

IT SHOULD FOR PEOPLE LIKE HIM.

>> Jon: DO YOU HAVE A FEAR

THIS GETS BURIED IN ANOTHER

BUREAUCRATIC JUMBLE OR IT'S A

HOT BUTTON ENOUGH ISSUE AROUND

THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY THAT

PEOPLE WILL TAKE UP THE MANTLE?

>> I THINK PEOPLE WILL TAKE UP

THE MANTLE.

I BELIEVE THAT.

I THINK THAT THIS IS A TIME

WHERE PEOPLE DO REFLECT.

THEY LOOK AT THE PEOPLE WHO WERE

THE HEROES ON THAT DAY, NOT A

TERM IN ANY WAY USED LYINGLY BUT

GENUINELY, AND I HOPE THEY DO.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

IT'S FREAKY THAT THESE

ANNIVERSARIES ARE ARBITRARY AND

LORD KNOWS WE'RE EXCESSIVE IN

OUR COVERAGE AND REMEMBRANCE OF

IT.

IT'S SO SHOCKING THAT IN

ACTUALITY THE HELP YOU NEED

STILL DOESN'T COME.

>> I HAVE TO SAY, JON, YOU'VE

DONE A LOT ON THIS ISSUE.

WE'VE BEEN WORKING ON THIS FOR A

YEAR.

YOUR NAME WAS BROUGHT UP SO MANY

TIMES BY THESE FIRST RESPONDERS.

>> Jon: LISTEN, IF THAT'S WHAT

GOES ON THE GRAVESTONE AS IN

YOUR TIME HERE YOU HELPED

INCREMELY THESE PEOPLE...

>> YOU'LL TAKE IT.

>> Jon: I'LL TAKE IT.

THAT WILL BE FINE.

"TERROR IN THE DUST."

IT'S ACTUALLY ON RIGHT NOW.

TRUTH OF THE MATTER, THIS WHOLE

TIME, NOBODY'S BEEN WATCHING.

IT'S A GREAT SPECIAL AND REALLY

WONDERFUL WORK.

NICE JOB.

"TERROR IN THE DUST."

REPLAYS ON SATURDAY SEPTEMBER

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