What are “they” saying about the health risk from watching the Martin Tower demolition outside? (52)

(52nd in a series on Martin Tower)

Martin Tower demolition May 19

And how have you spent your Monday morning?

May 13

Bob, Bob, Duane, Adam:

Pesky Gadfly again. Always acknowledging your hard work in a complex endeavor. But again pointing out after reviewing all the documents and recordings, that I think there is a mixed-message about people being outside for the implosion. The following “argument” will be convoluted, I know, but please hang tough.

1) In the May 9 afternoon presentation, the CDI focus is on preventing dust from going inside houses. Nothing is said about being outside.

2) In the question period after its afternoon presentation, CDI is direct about being outside: “We don’t encourage people to come out during the process; stay indoors during the process. Stay at home, watch it on television.” “We don’t encourage” is strong and direct. “Stay at home” is what we call in the language business imperative mood; it is strong, direct, forceful. Why was this important message dependent on a question to elicit it? Why was this important message not part of the direct presentation? But, anyway, it is clear.

3) There’s a disjunction between #1 and #2.

4) In #6 in the City “Martin Tower Implosion Frequently Asked Questions” document posted online and handed out at the two meetings,” the questions are: “Are there any precautions residents should take related to dust? Should residents stay indoors during the implosion and, if so, for how long?” The first question is answered, focusing on preventing dust from getting inside houses. Unlike the imperative statement above in #2, however, the answer to the important second question about being outside is prefaced by the conditional “if”: “If you find dust uncomfortable, etc.” Why doesn’t the City FAQ clearly say we don’t encourage you to be outside, stay home, and watch it on tv?

5) Another disjunction. So is the recommendation to stay indoors during the implosion or not? CDI and the City are not saying precisely the same thing.

6) The Dept of Health handout presents a new disjunction. In the afternoon question period, CDI says that if you are outside, stay upwind. DOH says that too but adds the important imperative to wear a respirator. CDI does not say that and even in the question period at the night session the idea of wearing a mask is said to be unnecessary, seemingly contradicting the DOH.

7) At the end of my question segment at the night session, CDI took issue with my characterization that the message was it was ok to be outside but to use commonsense (precisely, I would point out, the term CDI used in the afternoon session!), pointing me to the “Your Attention Please” document where, according to CDI, “we are advising people to stay indoors.” I humbly protest that you will find nothing of the sort in that document. The conditional “if” is again operable. There is NO direct advice for people to stay indoors in that document.

8) After which comment by CDI, the City pointed, conclusively to answer me, to the statement at the end of the contact number slide: “REMEMBER, THE BEST PLACE TO VIEW THE IMPLOSION IS FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME WATCHING IT ON TELEVISION.”  Exactly. But where else in the packet is this said that we should be asked to remember it here? I don’t see it.

9) In the “Implosion Dust” slide, all that is said is “Please stay indoors IF you have any respiratory conditions aggravated by dust.” There is nothing about staying in, watching on tv, etc.

10) My belabored point is that there is confusion on what your position is. If “REMEMBER, THE BEST PLACE TO VIEW THE IMPLOSION IS FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME WATCHING IT ON TELEVISION” is your bottom line because of health reasons, as the City indicated to me in the night session, then that should be on the title page of the packet not buried at the end, precisely as an acute audience member pointed out to you during the night session. And City officials should be heard saying that over and over again. And the media should be prompted to amplify that message for you.

11) It sounds to me that both the City and CDI want the important soundbite about health to be that for safety reasons THE BEST PLACE TO VIEW THE IMPLOSION IS FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME WATCHING IT ON TELEVISION.” Well, in my opinion, it’s lost in your documents and presentations.

Ed Gallagher

Can Gadfly get some breakfast now?

One thought on “What are “they” saying about the health risk from watching the Martin Tower demolition outside? (52)

  1. ‘we don’t encourage’ is a weak recommendation, especially when conditioned with the silly bit ‘if you find dust uncomfortable’.

    The real point is that the fine-particulate matter is harmful even if you don’t notice or don’t have any immediate reaction.

    The only reasonable health message is ‘we strongly advise’ people not to be outside and to wear a respirator if they are within, say 2 kilometers—and to post signs throughout that area.

    Too difficult or expensive? — then don’t do the implosion.

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