Like any other day, well over a quarter million office workers descended on Lower Manhattan to start their work day at financial institutions, communication & utility firms, and any number of other offices. Among those office workers who were downtown were the attorneys and staff at our firm, Barasch & McGarry. Within minutes of the first attack on the World Trade Center, debris, smoke, and ash filled the streets of Lower Manhattan and flooded the insides of countless area buildings. The massive dust clouds containing carcinogenic dust, fibers, and pulverized building materials engulfed officer workers and residents as they began to flee the area.
In the days that followed, the EPA famously and erroneously declared that the air was safe. The municipal government of New York City encouraged residents and workers to return to their homes and places of employment. These falsehoods led to approximately 300,000 workers heading back to work in an environment filled with debilitating toxic vapor and dust.
Large Employers in the Lower Manhattan 9/11 Exposure Zone
The 9/11 Exposure Zone is a large area extending down from Houston St. in Lower Manhattan where toxic air was concentrated on September 11th and in the months following.
Major employers in the 9/11 Exposure Zone include:
New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
JP Morgan Chase
The Bank of New York
Bruyette & Woods
Fiduciary Trust Company International
Marsh & McLennan
The American Insurance Group
Risk Waters (Incisive Media)
Dun & Bradstreet Corporation
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
MetLife , Inc.
Julien J. Studley
Thermo Electron Corporation
Bank of America
Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, LLP
Manhattan Office Workers’ Illness & Cancer Risk
For some people who worked in or surrounding the World Trade Center, injuries and losses were immediately apparent. For others, the extent of injury or illness only emerged years after the attacks. These illnesses and conditions include:
Cancers: Seventy known or potential carcinogens, including asbestos, arsenic and formaldehyde, have been found in the smoke, dust and fumes from the World Trade Center collapse and fire. The list of cancers linked to the WTC disaster zone now includes 69 specific types of cancers such as: lung, breast, skin, blood, prostate, colon, trachea, esophageal, kidney, bladder, thyroid and ovarian cancers, as well as childhood cancers.
Respiratory illnesses: So far, studies have shown that nearly everyone with prolonged exposure to the cloud of dust that rose over the WTC site has suffered decreased pulmonary capacity. Common illnesses include: asthma diagnoses, sarcoidosis, emphysema, decreased pulmonary function, exacerbated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic rhinosinusitis or nasopharyngitis, and chronic coughing disorders, among others.
Mental health: People present at or near the World Trade Center site at the time of the disaster face an increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety disorders, as well as increased rates of substance and alcohol abuse.
Office Worker Compensation for 9/11 Illness & Injury
Recognizing the latent health effects of air and dust inhalation on 9/11 and in the following months, Congress passed a series of acts culminating in the 2019 Never Forget the Heroes Act which fully funded and permanently extended the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund
(VCF)— the government fund with over $10 billion to compensate office workers who have become sick or have died from WTC-linked cancers and illnesses. Passage of the Never Forget the Heroes Act essentially ensures funds are available to compensate all who are currently sick or get sick in the future.
The second program available to 9/11 survivors is the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) which provides free health screenings and medical treatment. The program covers bystanders, like office workers, who developed illnesses from the toxins released in the air in Lower Manhattan. This free health care is available nationwide.
$3,700,651for a disabled NYC police officer due to leukemia
$3,254,242for wrongful death of a firefighter due to 9/11-related asthma/RADS
$2,811,150for a disabled stock broker due to multiple myeloma
$1,934,316for a disabled teacher due to esophageal cancer
$1,422,694for wrongful death of a downtown office worker due to pulmonary fibrosis
$1,251,411for wrongful death of a paralegal working in a downtown law firm due to breast cancer
$1,345,427for a NYC Police Officer with breast cancer
$1,188,741for a disabled EMT with colon cancer
$1,011,957for the wrongful death of a sound engineer due to bladder cancer
Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation
Deadlines to register VCF claims are approaching. If you or anyone you know had cancer or lost a family member, reach out to us to register for compensation quickly.
If you were exposed to the toxic air on 9/11 or in the 8 months that followed, but have not had your medical condition linked to 9/11, you also still have time to apply for significant compensation. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that your cancer or illness has been certified by the WTC Health Program. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a victim is made aware their condition was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.
For those who died from their WTC-linked condition, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.
Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please contact us for a free consultation.
It’s important to act quickly. Find out if you’re eligible to receive compensation from the $10 billion set aside for 9/11 victims. Call us at 212-385-8000 or contact us online today