Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act finally receives coverage for 50 types of cancer
For many years the memory of lives on and so did the belief there is a sound connection between the exposure to toxins that filled the air and cancer. Today brings news that heroes, survivors, advocates, friends and family can finally see a victory.
Yesterday an announcement had been made by Shelia Birnbaum, Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) had released the following statement on the final rule by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health;
“As previously stated, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) will follow the medical analyses conducted by the doctors and scientists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) who operate the World Trade Center Health Program (Health Program). Individuals who have been diagnosed with one of the cancers added by the Health Program today will be eligible for compensation from the VCF provided the cancer is determined to be a result of the September 11th attacks under the standards to be developed by the Health Program and provided they meet the VCF’s other eligibility criteria. These criteria include proving physical presence at one of the crash sites between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002, a specific medical condition that is a direct result of the terrorist-related crashes or the debris removal at the crash sites, and a physical injury treated by a medical professional within a reasonable time from the date the injury was discovered.”
Last year researchers from The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York conducted the first long-term study of the negative health effects from the collapse of the World Trade Center, September 11, 2001.
Their data was published in the 9/11 issue of The Lancet. At that time Dr. Juan Wisnivesky, MD, DrPH, Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine and lead author on the study stated “Our findings underscore the importance of long-term monitoring and treatment of the rescue and recovery worker population.”
The day the towers had collapsed enormous dust and debris had filled the air bringing crucial health issues contained within that thick blanket of dust covering. The covering composed of construction materials which had included glass, fiberglass, concrete and asbestos. Nearly 4,000 tons of asbestos fiber was contained within the buildings.
More than one in five of all responders that were in the Mount Sinai study had multiple physical and/or mental health problems.
At the time of that study researchers had found responders were exposed to a complex mix of toxins and known human carcinogens that had included asbestos, dioxin, lead and other caustic chemicals.
On January 11, 2011, at Plantation Estate in Hawaii, President Obama has signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010.
At the time the bill had no coverage for cancer with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health determining there was no link to cancer from the blanket of dust, yet those who had responded to ground zero had died from cancer.
On January 23, 2011, Cesar Borja, 20 year veteran of the NYPD had died at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York while awaiting a lung transplant. Borja had spent 16 hour days among the wreckage and dust of Ground Zero.
Detective Robert Williamson also spent 16 hour days doing recovery work it cost him his life May 13, 2007 due to pancreatic and lung cancer.
After the clean-up effort Williamson was among others that had lobbied Governor George Pataki to sign a bill permitting retirees suffering from Ground Zero illnesses to have their illnesses reclassified and to receive additional pension benefits. His family and union believe that his cancers were directly caused by exposure to Ground Zero dust at the World Trade Center site.
Cesar Borja Jr. had attended the president’s State of the Union address just hours after receiving the news his father had died from lung problems. He wished to meet the president to describe his father’s sacrifice and the health needs of other Ground Zero workers who had fallen ill.
Borja Jr. had related to the Associated Press; “I want him to hear from me, how my father died a hero last night, and there are many heroes that will and are continuing to die because they’re not given the proper medical attention or not given enough help from the federal government.”
It took eleven years before anything was done about to help the workers of ground zero. Senator Charles Schumer in a statement to CBS New York Station WCBS “It took too long, but the right thing is finally being done for 9/11 heroes.”
Health care costs will be paid for 50 types of cancer that could have developed for those who had worked at ground zero.
The additions in the act include Mesothelioma, Malignant neoplasm of the larynx and malignant neoplasm of the breast and ovary.
A list of inclusions can be viewed at New York Daily News.