In the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001, the clouds of dust created an unforgettable image of horror, destruction and death. Buildings that had defined the New York City skyline for decades were gone, with something truly sinister replacing them.
First responders, neighbors and those lucky enough to escape the WTC in time were exposed to that dust on the ground — and scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey knew that likely would be a problem. The existence of asbestos in building components was known even as the structures were being built in the early 1970s. In fact, plans for the North Tower were changed so that the floors above the 20th story were instead constructed with asbestos-free material due to emerging awareness at that time of the link between asbestos and mesothelioma.
In the week after 9/11, scientists collected dust samples and found several substances of concern:
- Chrysotile asbestos
In addition, the World Trade Center Registry estimates that 410,000 people were exposed to this dust during and after the towers’ collapse. They include individuals who were there as volunteers or in occupational roles in rescue, recovery and cleanup activities, or people simply living or working nearby.
This is a tragedy to unfold over time. Inhalation of fine asbestos particles, for example, can lead to mesothelioma, a fatal disease, between three and 50 years later. Several first responders have already died, and as many as 70 percent of first responders have experienced some lung problems.
The loss of life and health is more than emotionally devastating — it involves extraordinary costs and loss of income. Speak with a 9/11 personal injury attorney to learn of your options for compensation.