September 10, 2012

Government Recognizes Link Between 9/11 Attack And Cancer

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

As the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York rolls around, the federal government has added fourteen categories of cancer to the list of illnesses linked to the tragic day.

Linking the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001 to the list of illnesses brings added coverage to rescue workers and people living near ground zero at the time.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health approved the 14 additions to the list of illnesses covered in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The updated regulations will be taking effect 30 days after the ruling is published in the Federal Register.

Dr. John Howard, administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program established by the Zadroga law, said the decision is an important step in providing treatment and care to 9/11 responders and survivors.

The Zadroga Act was signed into law nearly two years ago, and the act did not cover cancer at the time because of the lack of scientific evidence linking cancers to ground zero toxins.

The New York Post reported that about 400 residents and rescue workers have died from cancer since 9/11.

Having cancer now included in the program means more victims will be receiving compensation as officials divide up the $2.77 billion fund.

"We fought long and hard to make sure that our 9/11 heroes suffering from cancers obtained from their work at ground zero get the help they deserve," U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer, both of New York, said in a statement. "Today's announcement is a huge step forward that will provide justice and support to so many who are now suffering from cancer and other illnesses. We will press on - with advocates, the community, and our partners in government - to ensure that all those who suffered harm from 9/11 and its aftermath get the access to the program they so desperately need."

Reuters reported last week that the New York City Fire Department added nine names to the fifty-five already etched on a wall that honors members of the fire department who have died of illnesses related to the 9/11 events.

The report said that the estimate of the overall death toll from 9/11-related illnesses is at more than 1,000. Reuters said at least 20,000 ground zero workers are being treated across the country, and the World Trade Center Health Program is monitoring 40,0000.

Plans to redevelop the World Trade Center have been delayed over the past ten years, as new projections say the redevelopment costs have grown to nearly $15 billion. One World Trade Center building is close to being complete, and could be opening as soon as 2014.