This means another 70,000 emergency service workers as well as other 9/11 survivors will be entitled to free medical care.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), approximately 1,000 deaths have been linked to exposure to toxic dust that originated from Ground Zero. Thousands of people became ill during the ten years following the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, including emergency personnel, construction workers, office cleaners, and others.
A 2011 report found that WTC (World Trade Center) disaster rescue workers and exposed civilians have a higher burden of mental and physical illness compared to the rest of the general population.
Last June, the National Institute for Occupational Safety, which is part of the CDC, had announced that it was in favor of including fifty types of cancer for federal coverage, after an advisory committee advised them to do so.
The new cancers included all pediatric cancers, leukemia, and cancers of the breast, bladder, colon, rectum, thyroid, stomach, esophagus, larynx, liver, ovary and lungs. The full list can viewed at this CDC web page.
President Barack Obama signed the Zadrga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2011. Authorities today said this Act will be used for the expanded coverage.
Before today's announcement, only people with respiratory diseases caused by the fumes and dust that came from the terrorist attack were eligible for free medical treatment.
World Trade Center Health Program administrator, John Howard, said of the latest announcement:
"An important step in the effort to provide needed treatment and care to 9/11 responders and survivors".
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday:
"Tomorrow we will remember those we lost to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and also those who bravely responded during and after the tragedy. As part of our ongoing commitment to our first responders, New York City led the way in ensuring that the Zadroga Act included reviews of the medical evidence so that all those ill from exposure to the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks receive the care they need.
We have urged from the very beginning that the decision whether or not to include cancer be based on science; Dr. Howard's decision, made after thorough consideration of the latest available research and data, will continue to ensure that those who have become ill due to the heinous attacks on 9/11 get the medical care they need and deserve."
The World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health ProgramThe World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health Program) was set up by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. It was created to provide medical and support services for volunteers, responders and workers who helped out in the recovery, cleanup, and rescue at the WTC (World Trade Center) and other sites in New York City which were devastated by the 9/11 terrorists attack.
The program also provides services for people who were in the NY City disaster area, either lived, worked or went to school there, and survived.
Am I eligible for free medical care? If you want to find out whether you are eligible, you need to fill out an Application Form and send it to the Program together with the required documents. The Program organizers say there are four eligibility categories:
FDNY Responder - you must be (or had been) a Fire Department of New York City member who took part for at least one day in the recovery and rescue effort in at least one of the former World Trade Center sites.
Several studies have shown that firefighters who were involved in the aftermath of the 9/11 WTC disaster consequently developed higher risks of developing respiratory diseases and some cancers. An article in the Lancet in September, 2011, reported that Firefighters who survived the 9/11 WTC disaster had a 19% higher risk of developing cancer during the seven years following the disaster, compared to the general population.
- NYC Responder - you were a responder or worker, but not affiliated with the Fire Department of New York, but who provided any of the following services in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the WTC: rescue, recovery, debris removal, demolition, and related support services.
- NYC Survivor - you were present in the disaster area in New York City, either during or shortly after the terrorist attack. You either worked, lived, went to school, or attended an adult day care in the disaster area.
- Pentagon/Shanksville, PA Responders - if you were an emergency responder, recovery workers, cleanup worker, or a volunteer who was directly involved in the response effort to the 9/11 2001 terroriist attacks on the Pentagon in Arlington, VA and the Flight 93 crash near Shanksville, PA.
Thousands of Firefighters inhaled toxic fumes and dust at Ground Zero
The September 11 Terrorist AttacksThe September 11 attacks, also known as 9/11 or the 9/11 attacks, took place on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. Four suicide attacks were carried out against the United States of America on US soil.
- 19 suicide terrorists belonging to al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger-carrying airplanes
- Two of the airplanes were deliberately crashed into the WTC twin towers in New York City. Both buildings collapsed within two hours of being hit.
United Airlines Flight 175 was deliberately crashed into the South Tower
- A third airplane was deliberately crashed into the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia.
- A fourth plane crashed into a field. It is believed that the passengers took control of the plane and deliberately crashed it in order to save lives or to prevent the terrorists from reaching their target.