10. Degrees of certitude

Doubts about the safety of the air in lower Manhattan that arose immediately after the attacks occured generated a lingering skepticism that quickly spread from New York to Washington and then to large swathes of the country. As time went on, it became increasingly difficult to know whether the air was safe, as officials insisted, or whether it was life-threatening, as Joel Kupferman and Juan Gonzalez had charged. No one knew with certainty whether an epidemic was brewing in Lower Manhattan or whether New Yorkers really were money-grubbing opportunists, trying to exploit a nation’s goodwill. Science had yet to prove that a series of deaths among ground zero workers was just the beginning of an epoch of misery and pain, ...

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