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A Matter of Life and Breath: Pulmonary Illnesses after 9/11

Of the disease visited upon a wide swath of New Yorkers and others on and after September 11, 2001, respiratory illnesses account for a large number of chronic medical cases more than a decade later.

A 2011 report prepared by the New York Department of Health reads in part:

The collapse of the twin towers of the WTC resulted in a massive cloud of dust and debris that spread over a large area of lower Manhattan, as well as fires which burned out of control for many weeks. The content and distribution of material in the resulting plume was of a complex mixture of building debris and combustion. The dust has been characterized as caustic and alkaline…

Study after study has shown increased respiratory risk to responders, recovery workers and residents after exposure to the toxic dust that settled throughout our city that day and in the weeks and months that followed. Increased incidence of sarcoidosis of the lungs, an inflammatory, scarring disease, were reported in first responders including the New York Police and Fire departments.

A 2006 study from Mount Sinai Medical Center noted 70 percent of the 10,000 rescue workers studied reported respiratory symptoms including:

  • Diminished lung capacity
  • Dry cough
  • Asthma
  • Acid reflux

Since then, research has connected the dots between exposure on and after 9/11 to serious respiratory conditions. Among others, the following conditions are currently covered by the new September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF):

  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Asthma
  • Chronic cough syndrome
  • Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS)

If you were affected by a WTC-related pulmonary condition, speak to your doctor. And if you have not already done so, file appropriate claims for compensation and health care. If you have questions, our firm can help.

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Compensation available to residents and office workers, teachers and students – not just responders and volunteers
Deadline Extended To Register Claims Must file within 2 years from the date your cancer was linked to WTC toxic dust
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  • "If I could give them six stars I would...don't even bother talking to anyone else concerning 9/11. The whole team worked night and day to deliver an outstanding settlement. They are honest, hard working and extremely professional. Just make the one phone call and let them do the rest." - Les Margulis, resident in the exposure zone

  • "I had a very good experience with Michael and Mariya. They made the process stress free. I would recommend this firm to anyone seeking assistance with 9/11 related illnesses." - JE Kirwan, worked in the exposure zone

  • "The people at this firm were just great. They were concern with making sure I was taken care of in every way possible. When I was given an award Mr. Barasch didn't think it was a fair amount and appealed the decision which got me a larger award. I am very satisfied with everything they did for me in the past and are willing to do for me and my family in the future." - Bob Wiecezak, FDNY-Retired

  • "Excellent law firm. Lee London and his staff were very responsive and always followed up with phone calls or emails. This firm is a strong example of what caring and personable lawyers are all about." - Letitia Egan, wife of client, volunteer in the exposure zone

  • Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation


    There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

    For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

    Register For Compensation

Please help spread the word about the strict two-year deadline to register a claim

Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please call us for a free consultation.

Let a knowledgeable attorney help you figure it out

A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying. You undoubtedly have questions about your disease and how you will pay for treatment. Lawyers at Barasch & McGarry ensure you understand the complex requirements and help devise the best strategies for obtaining compensation and appropriate medical care under the Zadroga Act. Contact our law firm online or call 888-351-9421. The initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to find out whether a lawyer can help.
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