Researcher’s On-the-Ground Environmental Health Work after 9/11 is Preserved in the Library of Congress
ALBANY, N.Y (July 19, 2021) – World Trade Center responders’ stories have been collected and donated to the Library of Congress, and Research Associate Professor Lloyd Wilson’s first-hand account responding to environmental health issues has been included.
Wilson’s story was collected by the World Trade Center Oral History Project, started in 2010 by the Stony Book Clinical Center of Excellence (CCE) of the World Trade Center Health Program to preserve the stories of World Trade Center responders, survivors, and their family members. Over the past 11 years, over 400 interviews have been collected that detail the days, weeks, and months that followed the World Trade Center tragedy as well as the long-term implications.
Wilson’s story was included when Ali Pellecchia, Research Program Coordinator for the Stony Brook CCE and online MPH student at UAlbany, took Wilson’s Introduction to Environmental Health course in summer 2020 and he shared his experience with the students.
“While I had heard many powerful stories from family members, survivors, and responders, I had never heard something from a scientific perspective,” says Pellecchia. “Knowing of Dr. Wilson's experiences surveying air quality so soon after the attacks, I believed his contribution to the project would be invaluable in understanding the viewpoint of those assessing environmental impacts during that time.”
Wilson was excited to share his story, and an interview was quickly scheduled.
After the World Trade Center attacks, Wilson worked closely with his colleagues at the New York State Department of Health on environmental issues from 9/11 and concurrent anthrax attacks. His air sampling work indicated that there were elevated levels of chemicals such as benzene in the air surrounding the site, which he explained would not be ideal to inhale regularly.
Preserved in the Library of Congress, Wilson’s story will be available for the generations to come to better understand the World Trade Center tragedy.
"When they watch my interview, I hope people remember how good humans can be versus the evil exhibited by the terrorists that attacked the World Trade Center," says Wilson. "A career in public health can take one into many unexpected areas including the unimaginable such as 9/11. The one commonality in all of my experiences was that many good people unselfishly step up to meet the challenges."