9/11 Fund May Open Up for More Cancer Victims
Washington, D.C. – People diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to toxic debris during the aftermath of the September 11 attacks should qualify for free treatment under the 9/11 victim compensation fund, federal health officials said last week.
Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which oversees the fund’s health program, announced that the agency is proposing to expand the number of illnesses covered by the fund to include 50 different types of cancer. Among them are breast, kidney, liver, colon, bladder, thyroid, lung, stomach and childhood cancers. If the rule becomes final, eligible survivors and firefighters, law enforcement officials and recovery, rescue and cleanup workers who responded to the terrorist attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. and in Shanksville, Pa., could obtain health benefits and compensation payments.
“This decision clears the way for the thousands of victims and their families who have suffered dearly since September 11, 2001, to receive some much-needed and deserved help,” said Heather White, chief of staff for Environmental Working Group. “The fate of these Americans is a stark reminder of the long-lasting impacts of that day and the days, months and years that have followed."
In December 2010, The Environmental Working Group sent a letter to Capitol Hill in support of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which was signed into law the following January. The legislation provides treatment, health care monitoring and financial aid to the many made ill by respiratory toxic chemicals in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center.