Late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated statistics for the World Trade Center Health Program that reveal a persistent if not well-known health crisis among 9/11 responders and other survivors. The WTC Health Program, which provides free health screenings and medical treatment for persons affected by the terrorist attacks and toxic fallout, has enrolled more than 83,000 people. More than 16 years after the attacks, the program still enrolls members at a rate of 400 to nearly 900 per month.
These facts about the population served by the WTC Health Program help to explain the scope of the problem:
- About 84 percent of members are responders, while 16 percent are civilian survivors.
- Most of the enrolled members (68 percent) are now between 45 and 64 years of age.
- Although civilian survivors are equally divided between male and female, 87 percent of the responders in the program are male.
- Almost 30,000 responders and more than 5,000 survivors are receiving treatment for aerodigestive conditions.
- More than 6,200 responders and 1,200 survivors are receiving treatment for cancer.
- Since the program’s inception, cancer has claimed the lives of 253 responders.
A certified condition is an ailment that is presumed to be related to 9/11 and qualifies for medical assistance within the WTC Health Program. Of the top 10 certified conditions, the most prevalent physical illnesses are:
- Rhinosinusitis — Inflammation of the nasal passages and sinus cavities, 24,364 members
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) — Mild to chronic acid reflux, 21,626 members
- Asthma — Chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes, 13,775 members
- Sleep apnea — Sleep disorder interrupting breathing, 9,361
- Cancer — All types, 7,765 members
- Respiratory disorder — Other than those previously listed, 7,526 members
- Pulmonary disease — Other than those previously listed, 2894 members
Individual members may have certification for more than one condition. In fact, only 25.7 percent of members receiving treatment have a single certified condition.
As for cancer, the WTC Health Program has certified 68 different forms of cancer, but the top 15 cancers are:
- Non-melanoma skin — 2,398 members
- Prostate — 1,577 members
- Melanoma of skin — 521 members
- Lymphoma — 415 members
- Thyroid — 406 members
- Breast (female) — 362 members
- Lung/bronchus — 355 members
- Kidney — 322 members
- Leukemia — 293 members
- Colon — 266 members
- Bladder — 264 members
- Myeloma — 152 members
- Oropharynx — 108 members
- Rectum — 81 members
- Tonsil — 79 members
A total of 7,486 members hold at least one cancer certification. Not currently counted are 279 members who passed away with at least one cancer certification.
As attorneys who have been fighting for 9/11 victims since the beginning, Barasch & McGarry urges anyone who was present in lower Manhattan from September 11, 2001 to May 30, 2002 to register immediately with the WTC Health Program.
For a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you obtain the benefits you deserve, please contact us online or call Barasch & McGarry at [ln::phone].