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Lung Injuries Resulting from the 9/11 Attacks

In the moments, days, weeks and months following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) in 2001, clouds of dust enveloped Lower Manhattan. As the debris was cleared from the site, that same dust found its way to the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. Thousands of first responders inhaled this dust, but other people — construction, transit, cleanup, debris removal and nearby office workers, in addition to truck drivers and Lower Manhattan and some Brooklyn residents — were exposed as well.

The dust in the disaster and its aftermath contained everything in those buildings. This included substances known to be toxic when inhaled or ingested: lead, gypsum (from drywall), cement and asbestos. As Paul Lioy, director of exposure science at Rutgers University told ABC News-TV in 2011, “The dust is something we had never seen before.”

Survivors inhaled much of this dust, and lung disorders and deadly diseases have resulted over time. The most serious among these are lung cancer, mesothelioma and laryngeal cancers, which can become evident up to 50 years after exposure (or much sooner). Other illnesses include the following:

  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Chronic respiratory disorder
  • Reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Asthma, upper airway hyper-reactivity, chronic rhinosinusitis, chronic nasopharyngitis, chronic laryngitis, gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and sleep apnea

As most first responders have learned, “WTC cough,” an indicator of exposure to 9/11 dust, is a strong sign that the individual may be affected. In every case, medical examination and treatment is highly advised.

As many as 400,000 people may have been exposed to these toxins. While there is no means of erasing the damage that arose that day, there are several programs designed to help employed and volunteer workers (and their survivors) who have become ill as a result of their service on 9/11. These include the WTC Volunteer Fund and the WTC Victim Compensation Fund, as provided for by the 2010 James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act. Speak with a WTC compensation lawyer to learn more.

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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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  • "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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