Some 70,000 first responders to the terrorist attacks in New York City on 9/11 are now eligible for free monitoring and treatment for various forms of cancer, the U.S. government has announced.
The devastated World Trade Center towers created a toxic pall that spanned some 287 chemicals, including cement dust, glass fibers, asbestos, crystalline silica, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides and dioxin. That deadly mix included combustion products from 20,000 gallons of jet fuel, 100,000 tonnes of organic debris, and 100,000 gallons of heating and diesel oil.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health made the landmark coverage announcement following the recent anniversary of the 2001 attack that killed nearly 3,000 people.
New York City officials say illnesses related to 9/11 have caused an estimated 1,000 deaths, including 64 NYC firefighters.
Cancers to be covered under the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act include lung and colorectal, breast and bladder, leukemias, melanoma and all childhood cancers.
In March 2012, a science advisory committee with the World Trade Center Health Program determined that Zadroga should cover cancers caused by any 9/11 compound which the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies as a human carcinogen. They recommended the program also cover cancers where high levels of inflammation have been documented, and cancers that epidemiology studies suggest that responders are at higher risk for than the general population.
A 9/11 responder who seeks treatment for covered conditions must get approval from a physician at one of the WTC’s health program centers.