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  • Emphysema was one of the earliest respiratory conditions linked to the inhalation of toxic fumes and dust on 9/11.
  • The condition affects the lungs’ ability to circulate enough oxygen through the bloodstream leading to persistent shortness of breath.
  • Barasch & McGarry helps people who suffer from emphysema get compensated for their illness and receive medical benefits through government 9/11 programs.

Emphysema Caused By Toxic Air on 9/11

For many people living and working in Lower Manhattan, September 11, 2001 was one of the worst days of their lives. When the World Trade Center buildings collapsed, smoke, dust, and debris rained down as people fled, created a choking cloud of irritating pollutants that lingered over the city. When New Yorkers were encouraged to return in the following weeks and months, most didn’t realize those harmful chemicals would still be in the air, causing debilitating irreversible respiratory conditions like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and COPD.

Symptoms of Emphysema and Associated Illnesses

Emphysema is a lung condition that can exist on its own, but is typically found in people who also have chronic bronchitis. Having both conditions is itself a condition known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. All three diseases have been found abundantly in those who lived or worked near, or responded to the World Trade Center disaster area on 9/11 and in the months that followed.

Emphysema is characterized by:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble sleeping because of shortness of breath
  • Mental fatigue
  • Lips or fingernails turning grey or blue with exertion

Because it’s closely associated with chronic bronchitis, another symptom to look out for is a persistent cough.

Medical Care and Compensation for Emphysema Sufferers

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 was legislation that established the list of conditions covered by the two 9/11 benefit programs the act created. These programs are The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) which provides free nationwide medical care for respiratory illness sufferers like those with emphysema or COPD, and the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) which disburses monetary compensation to those with conditions the WTC Health Program certifies.

I want to personally thank the firm for their hard work at both the forefront, and in the offices of the VCF in Washington. Without the firm’s non-stop commitment to the VCF, I wonder where many of us first responders would be today.

9/11 Responder

In 2019, after dozens of trips down to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress, our firm and many other 9/11 advocates aided in the passage of the Never Forget the Heroes Act. This law extends and fully funds the VCF, essentially covering all future claims for compensation.

Real Client VCF Awards

See More Results

$1,929,789for a downtown elevator mechanic with asthma; Chronic rhinitis; Esophageal reflux

$1,881,017for a NYC firefighter with esophageal reflux; Barrett’s esophagus; Asthma; Sinusitis; Obstructive sleep apnea

$1,401,066for a downtown attorney with asthma; Esophageal reflux; Obstructive sleep apnea; Sarcoidosis

$1,270,072for a NYC firefighter with asthma; Chronic rhinitis; Esophageal reflux; Obstructive sleep apnea; Sinusitis

$1,251,768for a NYPD officer with asthma; Chronic rhinitis; Esophageal reflux; Disease of vocal cords

$1,198,580for an ambulance EMT with rhinosinusitis; Sinusitis

$90,000for an office worker due to chronic bronchitis

$90,000for a Red Cross 9/11 volunteer due to barrett’s esophagus

$90,000for an Operating Engineer with asthma; Chronic rhinitis; GERD; Obstructive sleep apnea

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.

Contact Us

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.


Additional Topics

  • 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)

    Learn about the 9/11 VCF; permanently funded with over $10 billion to compensate anyone with 9/11-linked illnesses and 69 different cancers.

    Read More
  • World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP)

    Find out about the WTCHP which provides free medical monitoring, testing, treatment, and prescription drugs for a range of 9/11-linked conditions.

    Read More
  • 9/11 VCF Results & Awards

    Barasch & McGarry has recovered more money from the Victim's Compensation Fund than any other law firm. See example awards & results.

    Read More
  • Why Barasch & McGarry

    With over 20,000 clients under representation and $3 Billion+ recovered from the Victim Compensation Fund, find out why Barasch & McGarry are truly "Lawyers for the 9/11 Community".

    Read More

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