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Time Can’t Heal Everything: 9/11 First Responders Still Developing Cancers at an Alarming Rate

Almost sixteen years have passed since the cleanup work at Ground Zero officially ended, yet the devastating impact on those exposed to the toxins endures. Researchers have been studying the physical effects of running directly into, and not away from, one of the largest urban rescue and recovery efforts in history. First responders operated in the epicenter of the disaster, where the very worst exposures occurred. They were exposed to glass, lead, mercury, asbestos, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, crystalline silica, metals, dioxins, furans, and other particulates, to name a few. The wildly toxic dust contained more than 2,500 contaminants, and fires burned at ground zero for months.

Two new studies published in April of 2018 in the JAMA Oncology journal found that first responders who worked at the WTC site from September 11, 2001 to July 25, 2002 (the day the rescue, recovery, and cleanup efforts officially ended) were exposed to unprecedented environmental toxins and, as a result, have increased risk of developing a variety of cancers, including prostate and thyroid cancer, melanoma, and multiple myeloma.

The first study found that New York City Fire Department employees who worked at Ground Zero are expected to develop cancer at a greater rate than their fellow New Yorkers. The study conducted by the FDNY’s Bureau of Health Services and Office of Medical Affairs compared data on firefighters who worked at Ground Zero with data from a cancer registry of New York residents. Based on their actual cancer incidence through the end of 2011, the 12,374 firefighters were on track to be diagnosed with 2,714 cancers between the start of 2012 and the end of 2031. If those firefighters got cancer at the same rate as other men in New York City they would expect to be diagnosed with only 2,596 cancers during that 20-year period. The additional 118 instances of cancer is too large to be due to chance!

The second study found that New York City firefighters appeared to be developing aggressive forms of multiple myeloma at younger ages. The lead author of the study, Dr. Ola Landgren, chief of the Myeloma Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, said that “the age of onset is about 10 to 15 years earlier than the general population,” and that tumors in those patients showed “features of more aggressive biology” than compared with the general population. Researchers believe that the chemicals 9/11 responders were exposed to make the disease more aggressive.

Researchers concluded that firefighters and others who put their health on the line should be required to use “appropriate protective equipment,” and, when possible, limit “the amount of time workers can spend at disaster sites.”

Here at Barasch McGarry we want to reinforce these studies’ findings and urge not just firefighters, but all of those exposed to the toxins on 9/11 and the months following to continue to monitor your health– early detection is the best medicine! Make an appointment with the WTC Health Program today!

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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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  • 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.

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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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