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Staten Island Residents Fear 9/11 Debris at Fresh Kills Is Causing Cancer

The mountains of garbage at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island were, in the late 1990s, forecast to one day become New York’s tallest landmark, surpassing even the World Trade Center towers. Little did anyone know that the last loads of debris buried at the site would be toxic rubble from those very same towers.

Today, the Fresh Kills landfill has been renamed Freshkills Park, part of a decades-long urban ecological restoration and rebranding project of a scale the city has never seen — the parcel of land is as big as Lower Manhattan south of 23rd Street. The first portion of the revamped Freshkills, called North Park, is scheduled to open to visitors in 2021. The rest of the site will open in phases through 2036.

Some who live closest to Freshkills, however, are worried that the outward beauty of the park masks something dangerous just below the surface. Thousands of tons of toxic debris from Ground Zero, the first load of which was dumped at Fresh Kills less than 24 hours after the towers fell, could be causing elevated rates of cancer among the residents nearby.

Several studies conducted at the site since 9/11 have indeed found elevated occurrences of cancers among Staten Island residents.

In the last decade, contractors who worked at Fresh Kills and some who operated debris barges were successful in obtaining personal injury settlements for health problems traced to their exposure at the site. A group of 2,000 plaintiffs received a $24 million settlement and insurers paid another $28 million to 1,300 additional plaintiffs. The city challenged these claims, arguing that lifestyle, genetics or other factors caused the cancer.

Those who worked post-9/11 on the barges and at Fresh Kills are covered by the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), making them eligible for compensation from the government.

The Barasch & McGarry team is actively involved in the situation at Freshkills. If you are a resident of the area who has cancer that you think may be linked to the site, please reach out to us. Our entire firm is dedicated to helping people who are affected by 9/11-related illnesses. Our New York attorneys can be reached at 888-351-9421 or you can contact us online anytime. Your initial consultation is free.

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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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