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Barasch & McGarry Recognizes National Thyroid Awareness Month

January 18, 2024 | Michael Barasch

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month.

If you were there as a responder or you worked, lived, or studied in Lower Manhattan on or after 9/11, you have a higher risk of developing many respiratory illnesses and 69 different types of cancer resulting from exposure to Ground Zero toxins, including thyroid cancer.

Within days of 9/11, the E.P.A. claimed the air near Ground Zero was safe to breathe.

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

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 44,020 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2024.

Barasch & McGarry represents more than 1,200 9/11 first responders and survivors who have developed thyroid cancer, including many young adults who never expected a cancer diagnosis at their age.

The risk factors for thyroid cancer include exposure to radiation, a diet low in iodine (not a major risk for most Americans), family history, and genetics – as well as Ground Zero exposure after 9/11.

Remember that if you are diagnosed with 9/11-related thyroid cancer, your family medical history and pre-existing conditions will not affect your eligibility for free health care or compensation. 

If you are diagnosed with thyroid cancer 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.

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. 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 more than 40,000 members of the 9/11 community.

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