For several years, the news has been filled with stories about medical problems linked to breathing the contaminated air around the World Trade Center site following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The reauthorization of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund has put the spotlight on heroes who died prematurely due to respiratory illness, prostate cancer and other conditions associated with the Ground Zero cleanup. New research reported in a medical journal supports earlier suspicions that leukemia is among the conditions afflicting first responders and others.
The JNCI Cancer Spectrum has published a study showing a statistically significant increase in leukemia among World Trade Center first responders evaluated over approximately 12 years. This illness, which affects blood-forming tissue, joins the other types of cancers that have been identified as specific risks, such as thyroid cancer, multiple myeloma and prostate cancer. The finding still requires further review, but if you are concerned about contracting 9/11-related leukemia, some information is available:
- Benzene exposure — Researchers have pinpointed an increased incidence of leukemia of individuals with uncommonly high exposure to benzene, a component of jet fuel. As the tanks of both planes that hit the Twin Towers were nearly full, benzene released in the explosions was likely among the dangerous toxins around Ground Zero.
- Symptoms and testing — Leukemia symptoms can vary and be difficult to identify. Even if you have not noticed anything wrong, the World Trade Center Health Program offers free medical monitoring from approved providers for this and other problems potentially connected to exposure to contaminated air in the months following September 11, 2001.
- Possible alternative explanations — Some other studies that were conducted did not find an additional leukemia presence among first responders. This could be explained by small sample sizes or the disease’s long incubation period. Some medical professionals question whether the heavy focus on monitoring Ground Zero recovery workers explains the higher incidence of leukemia diagnoses.
Coverage under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund is available to individuals in the World Trade Center exposure zone who have been stricken with leukemia or other diseases contracted after the 2001 attacks. A New York lawyer familiar with VCF claims can advise you of the steps required to assert your rights as a victim or as a family member of someone who has died from such a disease.
Barasch & McGarry has a strong track record of securing compensation for people suffering from 9/11 illnesses and their loved ones. Please call 888-351-9421 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with of our attorneys.