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First Responders Affected by Ground Zero Toxins Testify to Congress

As the fight continues to extend the benefits of the James Zadroga Health Act, more people have shown up to testify in front of Congress on the continued need for those benefits. Recently, a number of first responders who had been seriously injured in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 appeared in front of a congressional committee to discuss the extension of the legislation.

Robert Norcross, a retired battalion chief from the New York Fire Department, says he regularly sees members of the FDNY who were at Ground Zero discovering new health conditions they never expected, conditions which were caused by their presence in an area polluted by toxic dust. Cancer, for example, often doesn’t show itself in victims until years after the initial exposure.

Hearing from victims

One NYPD officer, David Hawley, told congress the story of how he developed a rare form of throat cancer after he worked at Ground Zero, and told legislators he simply would not have survived if not for the benefits offered by the program. He bluntly told the committee that ending the Zadroga Act program would lead to the deaths of people who are in need of medical and financial assistance to treat the conditions they developed in the days after the attacks.

A former NYPD detective, Barbara Burnette, now suffers from a long list of different conditions after working for a time at Ground Zero. She told lawmakers how she spent weeks working at the site, shoveling away debris, looking for survivors and removing body parts from the wreckage. Approximately 1,000 firefighters from New York City have been diagnosed with cancer since 9/11 occurred, and 111 of them have passed away from their illnesses.

For more information on the Zadroga Act and whether you qualify for benefits, speak with an experienced New York attorney at Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson today.

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