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We Represent the 9/11 Community of Staten Island

November 16, 2023 | Michael Barasch

After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and in the weeks and months that followed, more than half a million people were exposed to Ground Zero toxins in Lower Manhattan below Canal Street.

Despite initial claims that the air was safe to breathe, all of the responders and survivors who were there are now at risk of developing 69 different types of cancer and many severe respiratory illnesses.

Although the attack itself occurred in Manhattan, the 9/11 community includes tens of thousands of individuals and families now working and living in every part of Staten Island, from St. George to Tottenville.

Barasch & McGarry proudly represents more than 4,000 members of the 9/11 community now living in Staten Island.

Today, more than 22 years after 9/11, there are still many responders and survivors who have been diagnosed with Ground Zero-related cancer or respiratory illness but are not yet aware of the free health care and substantial compensation available to them.

For example, if you worked in an office building in the Financial District or at the courthouses around Foley Square or at a shop in TriBeCa on or after 9/11, you are likely eligible.

Similarly, employees at retails stores in the area, such as Century 21 and Syms, are also likely eligible, as are restaurant staff from the dozens of downtown restaurants.

Schools in the Ground Zero exposure zone include Stuyvesant High School, Pace University, the Borough of Manhattan Community College, Murry Bergtraum High School, and dozens of other educational institutions below Canal Street.

Lower Manhattan residents at the time of 9/11 – such as from Chinatown, Two Bridges, Tribeca, and Battery Park City – who have since moved to Staten Island are also eligible.

Even if you are currently healthy, knowing your risk of cancer and respiratory illness as a member of the 9/11 community and accessing preventive care and diagnostic screenings could save your life.

The most common cancers for 9/11 responders and survivors are skin cancer (including basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma), prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, leukemia, lung cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer.

We have a shared responsibility to inform 9/11 community members – including thousands of people now working or living in Staten Island – about their risk of cancer and respiratory illness, and to help them access free health care and compensation.

Thankfully, after years of dedicated advocacy, the federal government created the free World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

The health program provides free medical care for 9/11-related illnesses, at hospitals in Staten Island and across the United States.

The victim fund offers tax-free awards for pain and suffering, lost earnings, and benefits for surviving spouses and family members.

Remember that if you are diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer or respiratory illness, your family medical history and pre-existing conditions will not affect your eligibility for free health care or compensation. 

For the WTC Health Program, the exposure zone consists of all of Manhattan below Houston Street and parts of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO in Brooklyn.

For the 9/11 VCF, the exposure zone includes the area of Manhattan south of Canal Street and west of Clinton Street.

If you were there, you have the right to register with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. And, if you are diagnosed with any Ground Zero-related illness, you have the right to enroll in the free World Trade Center Health Program.

Early detection could save your life. Protect yourself and your family.

Barasch & McGarry can help you register with the 9/11 VCF. Please contact us by visiting or calling 212-385-8000.

If you prefer to register or enroll directly with the 9/11 VCF or the WTC Health Program, visit or

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