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Barasch & McGarry Honors National Cancer Prevention Month

February 9, 2024 | Michael Barasch

The more than half a million first responders and survivors who were exposed to Ground Zero toxins after 9/11 have a higher risk of developing many respiratory illnesses and 69 different types of cancer.

In the days after 9/11, government officials claimed the air in Lower Manhattan was safe to breathe.

But 9/11 didn’t end on 9/11.

Later medical research found the air at Ground Zero wasn’t safe – it contained cement dust and glass particles, asbestos, and chemicals called persistent organic pollutants, many of them known carcinogens.

We urge anyone who was working, living, or attending school in Lower Manhattan on or after 9/11 to speak with a primary health care provider about their unique risk as a member of the 9/11 community.

Early detection can save your life. 

Here are several tips for reducing your risk of cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle
  • Avoid smoking and all other tobacco products
  • Protect yourself from the sun – wear sunscreen anytime you are outside
  • Get vaccinated for Hepatitis B and Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Get regular medical care

If you are diagnosed with multiple myeloma or any other 9/11-related cancers or respiratory illnesses, Barasch & McGarry can help you access resources through the free World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)

The health program provides comprehensive medical care to 9/11 victims for their 9/11-related illnesses.

The victim fund offers tax-free awards for pain and suffering, lost earnings, and benefits for surviving spouses and family members.

Your family medical history and pre-existing conditions will not affect your eligibility for free health care or compensation. 

For the WTC Health Program, the exposure zone consists of all of Manhattan below Houston Street and parts of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO in Brooklyn.

For the 9/11 VCF, the exposure zone includes the area of Manhattan south of Canal Street and west of Clinton Street.

Early detection could save your life. Protect yourself and your family.

Barasch & McGarry can help you register with the 9/11 VCF or enroll in the WTC Health Program. Please contact us by visiting or calling 212-385-8000.

If you prefer to register or enroll directly with the 9/11 VCF or the WTC Health Program, visit or

Barasch & McGarry, Lawyers for the 9/11 Community, represents nearly 40,000 members of the 9/11 community.


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