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Post-9/11 Illnesses

Long-term effects of the attacks on responders and residents

Recently, the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health publicly confirmed what many 9/11 first responders and volunteers have had the misfortune of knowing from personal experience: Exposure to World Trade Center dust and debris can cause cancer. This decision paves the way for the James Zadroga Act and the Victim Compensation Fund that now covers 68 different WTC-related cancers.

But cancer is only one of many debilitating WTC-related injuries and illnesses suffered by responders, residents and workers who volunteered, lived or worked in Lower Manhattan in the days and months following the attacks of September 11.

Respiratory problems

Nearly 60,000 rescue and recovery workers, residents and office workers who have enrolled in 9/11 health programs suffer from a 9/11 illness and have reported or been diagnosed with respiratory symptoms, sinus problems, asthma and loss of lung function.

  • Diagnoses of new asthma among exposed groups peaked in the first 16 months after 9/11.
  • Steep declines in pulmonary function detected among exposed firefighters and EMS workers within a year of the attacks have largely persisted.
  • Other people exposed to WTC dust and debris, such as police, volunteers, Lower Manhattan residents and people who worked in Lower Manhattan are also at risk for persistent abnormal pulmonary function.
  • Sarcoidosis — inflammation of an organ, typically the lungs — is especially prevalent among recovery and cleanup workers who worked on the debris pile.
  • Studies have indicated that trauma-related mental health conditions often occur along with respiratory illness.

Intense or prolonged exposure to the dust cloud on the morning of 9/11 increased the risk of developing respiratory problems among all groups exposed to World Trade Center dust.

Other physical illnesses

Doctors have also diagnosed many WTC-exposed adults with heartburn, acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), usually in conjunctions with WTC-linked mental health or respiratory symptoms. Early arrival at the WTC and intense exposure to the dust cloud have been identified as risk factors for these conditions.

For cancer and mortality rates — for which it takes longer to collect and confirm data — studies presenting conclusive data have just recently begun to emerge. These confirm early anecdotal evidence and common-sense instinct that those exposed to WTC dust and debris have greater risk of early death and a greater likelihood of developing cancer.

Mental health

The shock and trauma of the events of September 11 led to increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among all WTC-exposed populations. Trained emergency workers — police, firefighters and ambulance workers — had lower rates of PTSD than untrained volunteers because of their prior training and experience with emergency response. Studies also indicate significant comorbidity of depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders with PTSD.

Help getting the help you need

The skilled 9/11 lawyers at Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson have dedicated enormous amounts of professional and personal time to helping WTC-exposed rescue and recovery workers and Lower Manhattan residents and employees get the healthcare and financial relief they need to move forward with their lives. We strongly believe that no one impacted by the tragic events of September 11, 2001 should have to suffer silently or alone, without financial and medical support from the larger community.

Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation

There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is 2 years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program —or any other governmental agency. The 2 year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the 2 year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim

Please help spread the word about the strict 2 year deadline to register a claim

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 call us for a free consultation.

Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson — helping set things right

No other law firm in the country has collected more money from the Victim Compensation Fund for its injured clients than Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson. Please contact us online or call us at 888.351.9421 to learn more about the financial and health benefits available through the Victim Compensation Fund and the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

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