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The Long-term Impact of 9/11 on New Yorkers’ Health Is Still Unclear

Even though it’s been more than 15 years since the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, it’s important to remember we are still in the “morning after” stage of what will be a long health ordeal. As former NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley stated in 2012, “Cancers take 20 years to develop…and we might see something different 20 years down the line.” Already we have seen elevated rates of cancer, such as thyroid, prostate, and skin cancer, among 9/11 responders and rescue workers. But as a recent article in New York magazine points out, we don’t have a clear picture of the impact of 9/11 on civilian health, and a crisis among that population may be the next stage of the calamity.

In the wake of the attacks, there was great pressure for a return to normality, and EPA Chief Christie Todd Whitman and NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani have both faced fierce criticism for their faulty assurances. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control estimates 400,000 people were exposed to a toxic cloud of dust and debris as well as indoor dust and fumes from persistent fires. There’s been ample coverage of the Ground Zero cleanup, but little has been said about the unprofessional manner in which WTC dust — containing construction materials, leaded and unleaded paint, glass fibers, metals, and asbestos — was cleaned up in lower Manhattan. The NYC Department of Health delegated responsibility for asbestos removal to landlords and residents “in direct violation of city, state, and federal laws and at an enormous potential health risk.”

What is happening to exposed civilians? It is very difficult to say. As of June 2016, only 74,968 people had enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program, established under the Zadroga Act, to monitor and treat health problems arising from 9/11. The bulk of the enrollees (56,580) are FDNY, NYPD and other responders. However, only 8,881 civilians have enrolled. This could mean that hundreds of thousands of people are unwittingly suffering from 9/11-related illnesses and not receiving the care they need and deserve.

If you were exposed to Ground Zero toxicity in the wake of 9/11, learn about your rights to health screenings and treatment. Contact the experienced attorneys at Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson who have represented 9/11 survivors from the outset. Call 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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