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Chernobyl on the Hudson

Chernobyl on the Hudson

Date: Jan 11 2008

Themes: Health, News


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

It snowed on September 11, 2001 in New York. For a few miles around the World Trade Center, everything was covered in white dust. The government said the air was safe to breathe. They were glad to get the city back to normal as quickly as possible.

But now, thousands of people who helped clean up the attack site, or who simply lived nearby, have severe lung and sinus problems as well as other issues. It turns out the dust was toxic and that government officials had known it was all along. Over 100 people have died of illnesses caused by the dust and many more will soon.

Yet almost no help is available to people who have become sick. And Manhattan was never completely cleaned. It seems that 9/11 was a nightmare that only began six years ago. Listen to Jason and Marni talk about this problem.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Jason:  So, you know how every now and then the United States has one of these, like, enormous blunders, like the Japanese internment camps or something?

Marni:  Uh, yeah, that would qualify, yes.

Jason:  I think we’re on to one of those blunders right now with the whole 9/11 ills thing, with all the people getting sick in New York.

Marni:  Absolutely, yeah.

Jason:  I mean, it’s just crazy that there’s thousands of people being denied treatment and they all got sick because of this thing that’s this huge rallying point for the whole country, yet, they’re totally ignored.

Marni:  Yeah, isn’t it interesting? All those those people who are getting sick? And I know, Sicko, Michael Moore talked about that because he brought the people who worked there to Cuba to get treatment because they couldn’t get treatment here. It’s so messed up. It’s kind of creepy. And obviously, we’re six years out now from that event and more and more people are getting sick from it.

Jason:  Absolutely. There’s 70,000 people, is what I read, who were within the range of the toxic dust, who probably will become sick at some point in the next 20 years…

Marni:  Agh. So disturbing.

Jason:  ...which is crazy! And it’s so much more easily dealt with if it was just given money right now, you know? But instead if we wait until it’s this massive disaster and we just look horrible to the international community and to our own people and it costs way more, and people are going to die…

Marni:  Well that’s how our health care system is in this country. It’s not at all based on preventative care. It’s all about, like, “Oh, let’s see how bad it gets” and then, “Oh, we have a catastrophe.” And then we try and fix it. You can’t put a Band Aid on a gaping wound. It’s just ridiculous.

Jason:  But it’s just so crazy with this particular thing because it’s like, everyone has that bumper sticker, “9/11 never forget,” but all these people are totally forgotten.

Marni:  Exactly. No, you’re right, you’re right. It’s sad.



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Jason says that he thinks the lack of treatment for illnesses related to 9/11 will go down in history as a horrible injustice. He compares it to when Japanese-Americans were imprisoned during World War II.

Marni points out that the American health care system isn’t really into preventative care. So while the situation is sad, it’s really not unusual.

But Jason says it’s very unusual because 9/11 is such a source of pride and patriotism for many Americans that it’s particularly terrible to let people who are sick because of it go untreated.

What do you think? Did you know about this issue before? Were you surprised to learn that people are still getting sick as a result of 9/11?

For more information on 9/11 ills check out this article in Discover Magazine.

The title of this lesson is taken from a statement by George Tabb, one of the most outspoken victims of 9/11 ills. Click here to see a video he made about it.



Log in to Comment


United States

This is the reason hate is not the answer. Never promote hate!


01:44 PM Feb 26 2017 |




  when happened that horrible disaster I watched that on TV and I was very sad. I think all people in the world cry when watch that terrible thing who happen in NY, and that's inhuman, uncivilized .Cry

07:59 PM Dec 21 2008 |




yes, this lesson is very sad. I think all people in the world cry when happened that horrible disaster

07:43 PM Dec 21 2008 |




i agree u

08:51 PM May 30 2008 |



it's big problem.

08:34 PM May 30 2008 |



I think it was a great tragedy,the Americans governore should remember it always so that it should never happen somethink like this.The peoples life is of great worth,they should care aboute more,because thay are responsible for it.

03:51 PM Mar 04 2008 |



9/11 is teach US that isn't supercountry  

12:19 PM Feb 16 2008 |





I am also new

can we be friend?

 are you help me ?

 to learn english.

06:29 PM Jan 30 2008 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

i  have no clue

05:43 PM Jan 17 2008 |



hello everybody






01:55 AM Jan 17 2008 |



Sri Lanka

Since the administration is so keen to hang or fix all the bad guys, why can't it send these negligent government officials (and politicians) to the cooler for some time? Not that one can undo all the damage that has now been done.

The owner of the local video rental recommended "Sicko" to me. I was impressed by the documentary, and it certainly made a balanced and well presented case for free  universal health care in the States.

01:27 PM Jan 16 2008 |




all things are forgotten in the history


12:15 PM Jan 16 2008 |



nice to meet you too.

 hope you have a good time.

09:36 AM Jan 16 2008 |



It's intreasting.


09:33 AM Jan 16 2008 |



hi am a male from Ghana and am pleased to be a friend please u can call me on 00233 275465506 please call

05:04 PM Jan 15 2008 |




horrible things! i hate the man who  make  the unpeace !

11:25 AM Jan 15 2008 |





08:02 AM Jan 15 2008 |



Serbia and Montenegro

i hope the god will regarded it since so many innocent people

07:41 PM Jan 14 2008 |



Serbia and Montenegro

it is relatively silly and terrible,anyway it is a lesson to us

07:34 PM Jan 14 2008 |


Saudi Arabia

thats proplem its not just in that place its in the whole world but we dont know

04:31 PM Jan 14 2008 |

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