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NEW YORK CITY-A group of Ground Zero cleanup workers and others filed a class-action suit against World Trade Center ownership, managers, controllers and lessors claiming lethal toxins at the site during and after the search-and-rescue period endangered their health and welfare. The suit alleges the defendants failed to provide adequate protective clothing, respirators and related instruction.

“We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg three years later in terms of the number of victims as well as the variety and severity of their illnesses,” said David E. Worby; a senior partner at Worby, Groner, Edelman, & Napoli, Bern LLP, who is handling the case.

“The rescue, recovery and cleanup of the World Trade Center site was conducted completely under the auspices and control of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the City of New York,” says Howard J. Rubenstein, a spokesman for Larry Silverstein, whose Silverstein Properties is the site’s leaseholder. “We had no control over that operation and no ability to supervise what safety precautions were taken.” The claim was also brought against a number of companies hired to oversee the debris removal process including Lend Lease, Turner Construction, AMEC Construction and Tully Construction.

According to Worby, the suit, which currently has more than 800 plaintiffs, is seeking billions of dollars in compensation for victims and to establish funding for a decades-long protocol of medical testing for all those exposed to these poisons. The suit was filed in US Federal Court on Friday, the day before a three-year statute of limitations for lawsuits relating to the terror attacks expired.

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