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9/11 Injuries

How Extensive Was the WTC Dust Cloud — And Who Is Eligible for 9/11 Compensation?

December 3, 2013 | Michael Barasch

Just how far did the toxic dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11 travel? Satellite images show the dust cloud trailing from Lower Manhattan across Brooklyn and into the Long Island Sound, which provides some idea of the pervasiveness of the asbestos fibers, crushed cement, lead, copper, fiberglass and other dangerous substances in that dust.

But those satellite photos do not show how the dust entered homes and offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn. These fine particulates were present weeks and months later — certainly on “the pile,” where recovery crews toiled for months and from which cleanup crews hauled debris to the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. But following the attacks, it was also in carpets, furniture and clothing, sometimes for weeks, until the items were cleaned.

What’s most worrisome is where the dust traveled in the bodies of those exposed. No fewer than three documentaries have been produced on the long-term health problems resulting from breathing and swallowing the airborne particles that came from the 400 million tons of buildings that crashed to the ground that fateful morning. Those films are:

  • “Dust to Dust: The Health Effects of 9/11” (CBS News Productions, Bruce Kennedy, producer, 2006)
  • “Toxic Legacy” (Canadian Broadcasting Company/Susan Teskey, producer, 2006)
  • “The Toxic Clouds of 9/11: A Looming Disaster” (Chemical Sensitivity Foundation, Alison Johnson, producer, 2006)

The area legally defined as the “NYC Exposure Zone” consists of Manhattan south of Canal Street, from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway, north on East Broadway to Clinton Street, east on Clinton to the East River, and “any area related to, or along, routes of debris removal,” including barges to the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. Additional areas can be argued in litigation.

If you or a loved one was injured by 9/11 dust, you can seek compensation for injuries through the WTC victims and volunteer compensation funds. But you must file your claim within two years of the discovery of your injury. Speak with a WTC injury lawyer to learn what might be recovered.

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