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9/11 Injuries

9/11 Police Chief Dies from Blood Cancer at Age 53

February 19, 2015 | Michael Barasch

A New York Police Department chief, Steven Bonano, died of blood cancer at age 53. Bonano was among the very first emergency workers to arrive at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. Many suspect his cancer was related to his time at the site and exposure to toxic fumes.

Bonano is by no means the first 9/11 emergency responder to have struggled with health problems. Since the terrorist attacks, more than 900 other emergency workers have died of illness that many attribute to their time at Ground Zero.

While it has been well over a decade since the attacks, those who were present continue to deal with catastrophic health problems. The Mount Sinai Medical Center’s World Trade Center Health Program has tracked the data related to health problems in this population and found that the rate of cancer among 9/11 first responders is 15 percent higher than in the general population. The most dramatic uptick in cancer rates has been among those suffering from blood cancer and prostate cancer.

On the day of the attacks and in the weeks that followed, emergency responders and cleanup workers breathed in a toxic dust that hung in the air long after the towers fell. Rescue and recovery workers were particularly exposed to this as they worked directly in the rubble of Ground Zero. Sadly, many of them are paying a price for that service today. Among them is Bonano who many hailed as a hero for his help on and after September 11, 2001.

Cancer can be a slow killer, and many people do not realize that following their exposure to toxic fumes, it can take years to develop health problems. If you were a 9/11 first responder or a downtown Manhattan resident between 9/11/01 and 5/30/2, and you have recently been diagnosed with any of the 64 cancers that NIOSH has linked to the WTC toxic dust, contact the dedicated New York attorneys at Barasch, McGarry Salzman & Penson for a free legal consultation.

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