This deadly 9/11 shirt contains so much asbestos it is feared thousands
of the disaster's survivors could be hit with cancer.
The garment worn by survivor Yehuda Kaploun, 39, has 93,000 times higher levels
of asbestos than normal - 47 TIMES the safety limit.
It is also saturated with toxic zinc, mercury, antimony, barium, chromium,
cobalt, copper, lead and molybdenum.
More than a million tonnes of dust containing chemicals and 400,000 tonnes
of asbestos choked the skies after New York's World Trade Center was hit by
two hijacked planes.
Now there are fears that Yehuda's shirt is grim evidence that rescuers and
survivors could face lethal health problems in decades to come.
Yehuda, who spent two days battling to save lives at Ground Zero, said: "I
saw thousands of people covered in the dust. We were told there was no danger.
Obviously, this isn't the case.
"It goes to show how wrong these people were who we trusted.
"So far, thank God, I check out OK. But I hope the government will do the
right thing for all those who were at Ground Zero for any length of time."
Yehuda was a liaison officer between the police, fire departments and the Orthodox
Jewish community in the aftermath of the disaster that killed 2,752 people.
He watched as his friend, fireman Mychal Judge, died in a building collapse.
When he returned home exhausted he decided to keep the shirt rather than have
it cleaned, and sealed it in a plastic bag.
He said: "Something told me it was loaded with stuff."
The shirt was sent for analysis to RJ Lee Group laboratories.
Forensic testing has revealed that parts contain a concentration of chrysotile
asbestos about 93,000 times higher than the average found in the environment.
A safe level of asbestos on clothing is below one per cent. The shirt has levels
approaching 47 per cent.
Chuck Lee, a senior scientist at the lab, said: "These are at the high
end of surface concentrations that you'd find anywhere."
Yehuda said he hoped the damning evidence could help others who may have been
exposed to the danger.
He said: "Maybe my shirt and I can do something to help all those people
who were at Ground Zero for weeks and months on end.
"If this is what is needed to help and support them, then that's a blessing."
Dr Mark Rosen, chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Beth Israel
Hospital, warned that it can take decades for asbestos cancers to develop.
He said: "We won't know the effect of Ground Zero exposure for years."
Heavy metals burned in the debris of the Twin Towers for months after the terror
David Worby, a lawyer for 7,300 rescue and recovery workers who continually
inhaled the smoke and dust at Ground Zero, later called the area "the worst
toxic site ever".
He said: "It's mind-boggling the poisons they made these people work through.
The amount of dioxins made Vietnam look like a kindergarten."
A report published last month showed that 62 per cent of those caught in the
dust cloud later went down with respiratory problems.
Last week a US coroner said that the death of police detective James Zadroga,
34, from respiratory disease was "directly related" to the 9/11 attacks.
The families of two dozen workers who died after being involved in the clean-up
operation are suing New York City authorities.