The federal government may recognize the 9/11 cancer link between Ground Zero and many first responders by the attack’s 11th anniversary.
The new rule that will soon be made official will acknowledge that exposure to toxic conditions at Ground Zero after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks may have been the contributing cause to many first responders contracting several types of cancer, reports The Examiner.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official stated that the new rule, “adds [cancer] to the list of covered conditions.” The rule recognizes that those who responded first to the World Trade Center Attacks at Ground Zero have contracted up to 50 different types of cancer because of their exposure to toxins and dust at the site.
With the new rule, cancer victims will be able to apply for federal compensation from the $4.3 billion James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act fund. Ray Pfeiffer, a first responder on 9/11 who contracted kidney cancer stated, “We are getting sick in record numbers.” Pfeiffer is excited about the new rule, because his current insurance does not cover all of his expensive medications for cancer treatments, notes NBC News.
Roughly 400 residents and rescue workers have died from cancer since 9/11. But with cancer included in the current fund, it could cause individual awards to be reduced, because officials will have the same amount of money to divide between more people. Thomas “T.J.” Gilmartin, who suffers from lung disease and sleep apnea, stated:
“They’re going to add cancers, but are they going to add more money to the fund? It’s crazy. Every time, we gotta fight. It’s two years since Obama signed that bill, and nobody’s got 10 cents.”
Some estimates have put the death toll from 9/11 cancers and other related illnesses at more than 1,000 people, while at least 20,000 Ground Zero workers are being treated across the country. The World Trade Center Health Program is monitoring 40,000 people.