The death toll of those who died on September 11, 2001 is believed to have been 2,606 in the World Trade Center twin towers, plus passengers in the two airplanes that struck the buildings. In addition to this intense tragedy and loss, the cloud of toxic dust that surviving police, firemen, emergency workers, office workers and countless volunteers were exposed to has proved to be an additional slow-motion catastrophe.
Indeed, more than a dozen years after the attacks in New York City, the people who selflessly joined in the rescue mission are themselves suffering or have died. Cement dust, asbestos, lead, zinc, copper and many other types of microscopic particles were ingested in the lungs and by mouth, which has since led to disease and sometimes death. Beyond the lung diseases (mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer) are disorders that affect the digestive system, including:
- Malignant neoplasms of the esophagus, stomach, colon, rectosigmoid junction and rectum
- Malignant neoplasm of the liver and intrahepatic bile ducts, retroperitoneum and peritoneum
- Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined digestive organs
- Gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
These diseases and conditions can halt the patient’s ability to work and to enjoy life, or they can cause death. At least 1,140 workers have received toxic dust and smoke-related diagnoses of cancer as of 2013.
Both the injured and their dependents and families have suffered greatly, and no amount of money can adequately compensate them for their losses. But the U.S. Congress has established funds to help those victims and their families manage the financial burdens of healthcare and lost income.
Even when WTC-related illnesses arise these many years after the attacks, the individual suffering such problems can collect from the WTC Volunteer Fund or the WTC Victim Compensation Fund. Beneficiaries of either fund must prove they were in the areas affected by the buildings’ collapse, and that their illness is related to the disaster. To receive compensation, speak with a WTC illness attorney who understands how the funds work and what makes a credible case.