Victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks who were diagnosed with cancer after inhaling toxic dust will now be eligible for treatment under the World Trade Center Health Program, according to an ABC News report.
The program released a list of cancers now covered under the program, including mesothelioma – a type of cancer affecting the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body called the mesothelium. It’s caused primarily by exposure to asbestos.
The compensation will come through the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a fund established in 2010 and named for police detective James Zadroga, who died after working at Ground Zero. The fund initially included only a short list of illnesses qualifying for compensation.
ABC News reports that cancer was left off the list because of a lack of scientific evidence linking the disease to conditions at ground zero. But many of the 50,000 9/11 first responders believe they got cancer and other illnesses from their exposure to dust and other substances in the wreckage left by the terrorist attacks.
In addition to asbestos, the fire and collapse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers contaminated the nearby air with particles of glass, cement, lead, gypsum, calcium carbonate, other metal particles and other toxins.
The pH of the dust was very high, meaning it was highly alkaline, according to ABC News.
The report quotes Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean of global health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, as saying: “That means it’s extremely caustic and would be like inhaling powdered lye or Drano.”
Many health professionals believe exposure to the dust through the lungs and skin has contributed to the asthma, gastrointestinal problems, and cancer risk experienced by rescue workers. At especially high risk were those who were on the site immediately after the attack, when the cloud of debris dust was its thickest.
If you or a loved one have contracted mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, contact Lopez McHugh for a free consultation.
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