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Women of Organized Labor at Risk for 9/11-Related Illnesses

May 17, 2022 | Michael Barasch

On and after 9/11, more than 200,000 women – many of them union members – were exposed to Ground Zero toxins, increasing their risk of developing 68 types of cancer and many respiratory illnesses.

These union members include both first responders and survivors, such as educators, medical professionals, and workers at federal, state, and local government agencies.

Their contributions to New York City’s recovery were invaluable, as union members kept schools, medical facilities, public institutions, and companies in operation during the difficult months after 9/11.

Yet because the initial studies of 9/11-related health risks focused on firefighters, who were predominantly men, women’s health conditions were too often ignored.

Barasch & McGarry has worked tirelessly to secure full health care coverage and compensation for all 9/11 community members – regardless of sex or gender.

After years of research and relentless advocacy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has formally proposed adding uterine and endometrial cancers to the list of 9/11-related conditions.

The proposal will likely become final in June.

Then, women who have been diagnosed with either of these cancers, or develop them in the future from their exposure to 9/11 toxins, will become eligible for the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

But even today, more than twenty years after 9/11, many women union members who are eligible have not enrolled in the WTC Health Program or registered with the 9/11 VCF.

We have a duty to inform them about their right to access health care and compensation.

As additional first responders and survivors enroll, doctors learn more about health effects of Ground Zero exposure, expanding the number of covered conditions.

If you were in Lower Manhattan on 9/11 or during the eight following months, you are eligible to enroll – even if you are currently healthy.

Barasch & McGarry, Lawyers for the 9/11 Community, which represents 30,000 members of the 9/11 community, has proudly advocated for union members for more than twenty-five years.

Visit or call 800-314-0683 today.

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