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39,921 New York Police Officers, Civilians Worked at Ground Zero following Terrorist Attacks

Mar 16, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

It has finally been revealed how many New York police officers and civilians worked in rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  According to the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 39,921 New Yorkers responded to the tragedy at Ground Zero.  All of those heroes would have been exposed to toxic dust at the site, and many may already be sick because of that exposure.

According to a report from The New York Post, Mayor Bloomberg's office forwarded the information to a researcher at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine who is study the health of 9/11 first responders.  Researcher Phillip Landrigan had repeatedly asked the New York Police Department for the data.   Landrigan recently submitted a study to medical journal review which reportedly found a 14 percent increase in cancer rates among rescue workers — particularly prostate, thyroid and certain blood cancers.

That study, the largest of its kind to date, will ultimately be considered by federal officials when they decide whether or not cancer should be covered under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act’s $2.8 billion Victim Compensation Fund.  The advisory panel charged with overseeing the fund could make a recommendation next month on whether or not to name cancer a covered illness. Cancer is currently excluded from Zadroga Act coverage because of supposedly insufficient scientific proof that exposure to the toxic dust at Ground Zero following the 9/11 terrorism attacks is associated with an increased risk of developing the disease. 

Last month, at a hearing convened by the panel, Landrigan spoke in favor of cancer coverage.

“I think that we’ve reached a point… [where] we can say with a high degree of certainty that the exposures that the responders experienced down there at Ground Zero and the other World Trade Center sites, we can reasonably anticipate that those exposures are going to cause cancer,” Landrigan said.

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