The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, signed by President Obama in January 2011, sets aside $4.2 billion for the World Trade Center Health Program to test and treat workers, volunteers and other survivors of the attacks on September 11, 2001. It is named for one of the first New York City Police Department officers to die of a respiratory disease resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals in the Ground Zero debris.
The Zadroga Act effectively extends the availability of compensation funds to victims of 9/11 whose injuries become apparent years following the catastrophe. This is necessary because the many toxic substances in the airborne dust lead to illnesses such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma several decades later. It is conceivable that first responders, volunteers and area office workers and residents may present with disease up through 2050.
To qualify for compensation, victims need to prove they were in the “crash site” zones during the timeframe that toxic dust was present. These zones are specifically defined as follows:
- In the immediate vicinity of the World Trade Center
- In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked planes crashed
- At the U.S. Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia
- Inside any of the buildings that were damaged or destroyed on September 11, 2001
- Within the New York City exposure zone: South of a line in Manhattan that runs along Canal Street, from the Hudson River to where Canal intersects with East Broadway, then north on East Broadway to Clinton Street, east on Clinton Street to the East River; and along all routes related to debris removal, including the barges that transported debris to Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island
An estimated 400,000 people may have been within one of these zones, affected by the asbestos, lead, zinc, copper, fiberglass, cement and other dangerous materials in the air following the attack. If you or a loved one was among those exposed and is experiencing respiratory or other illnesses, speak with a 9/11 personal injury attorney to learn what your recourse for financial losses might be.