9/11 First Responders Now Covered for Mesothelioma

In December 2010, Congress approved the Zadroga Act, which is designed to assist those who have become sick related to their work at the World Trade Center on 9/11. A $4.3 billion fund was established to assist the first responders who have since suffered debilitating illnesses.

The problem with the legislation was that it did not cover any type of cancer. Many advocacy groups lobbied for the expansion of benefits to cover mesothelioma and other cancers contracted by 9/11 rescue workers. Lobbyists noted that more than 400 people have already died from cancer that can be directly related to their rescue work on 9/11.

Testing at the World Trade Center ruins revealed high levels of cancer-causing chemicals including lead, formaldehyde and asbestos. All three chemicals are known to cause mesothelioma. Fifty other types of cancer can be tied to 9/11 rescue work.

A few days ago, John Howard, Director of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, announced that the Zadroga Act will cover those 9/11 workers who contract mesothelioma and a number of other cancers.

Mesothelioma has a long incubation period and may take decades to appear after exposure. Consequently, although there have not yet been any documented cases of mesothelioma arising from the World Trade Center disaster, many cases are expected.

A person does not have to be a first responder in New York City to worry about contracting mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. People all over the country who have worked in construction, as firefighters or in other jobs that have exposed them to certain chemicals are at risk.

Source: Surviving Mesothelioma, ” Mesothelioma Now Covered by Zadroga Act,” September 13, 2012.

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