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Did 9/11 Create a Mesothelioma Time Bomb?

More than 70,000 patients — survivors of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, first responders and rescue/recovery workers — have enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program and more than 21,000 are receiving treatment specifically for 9/11-related illnesses. According to USA Today, there are now more than 2,600 WTC Health Program patients with cancer-related illnesses, a number nearly equal to that of the number of people who died on the day of the attacks. It now seems inevitable that deaths among responders due to exposure to toxic conditions at Ground Zero will eclipse the number of immediate fatalities, especially when we consider the long latency period of the most deadly cancers.

In 2013, the WTC Health Program Administrator released a report on the latency period for five groups of cancers eligible for coverage. Four had short latency periods:

  • Leukemia and lymphoma — 0.4 years
  • Childhood cancers — One year
  • Thyroid cancer — 2.5 years
  • Solid cancers — Four years

However, the deadliest of these cancers is also the one with the longest latency period. Mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer resulting from asbestos exposure, ravages the membranes lining the lungs and abdomen. By certain estimates, meso takes at least 11 years to develop. But the administrator’s review of 21 studies on mesothelioma found a median latency period of 32 years, with 96 percent of cases being diagnosed at least 20 years after initial exposure and 33 percent of cases diagnosed 40 years after initial exposure.

The World Trade Center attacks released anywhere from 400 to 2,000 tons of asbestos dust into the air. Workers who labored for months at Ground Zero were exposed to a smoldering cauldron of carcinogenic materials, including pulverized asbestos. We have every reason to believe that as cases of short-latency cancers dwindle, the number of mesothelioma cases will increase dramatically.

At Barasch & McGarry, our attorneys have been fighting for 9/11 responders since the first signs of illness began to surface. Today, we are at the forefront of the fight for permanent Zadroga Act funding. We understand that responders are still at risk; we want to see you receive the benefits and compensation you deserve. If you have questions about your rights regarding any 9/11-related illness, call us at 888-351-9421 or contact our office online.

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  • "Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson handled everything professionally and with patience. They always had time to answer all my questions and did what they promised. Thanks esp to Brian Calamaris Lee London, and Mariya Atanasova. Thank you." - William Collins, FDNY

  • "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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