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In New Video, 9/11 Responders and Workers Call for Extension of Zadroga Act

Apr 16, 2015

Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, a group of advocates for 9/11 responders and clean-up workers, has released a new video, an emotional call for the extension of the Zadroga Act. The Zadroga Act provides treatment and compensation for those who were injured or became ill after exposure to toxins in the aftermath of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

Key provisions of the Zadroga Act—the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund—will expire in October 2015 and October 2016, respectively, unless the act is renewed. The video emphasizes the importance of these programs, which provide medical treatment and monitoring and compensation to rescue and recovery workers and survivors. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is leading the effort for the Zadroga Act renewal; she led efforts for passage of the original bill in 2010.

The video reveals that more than 30,000 responders, recovery workers, and survivors have been diagnosed with at least one condition related to the 9/11 attacks; many suffer from multiple illnesses. Exposure to hazardous substances has been tied to the deaths of at least 80 police officers and 100 firefighters, according to the video. Some 3,600 cases of cancer have been diagnosed among responders and survivors. These cancers can take many years to develop and doctors expect cancers to continue to emerge. In addition to cancers, many suffer from respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions. Some are disabled and no longer able to work, creating economic hardships for their families. The video’s message is clear: without the programs provided under the Zadroga Act, thousands of people will be devastated physically, financially, and emotionally.

According to the organization 9/11 Health Watch, 9/11-related cancer cases among rescue workers and responders have increased over the past decade. Epidemiological research has shown that 9/11 rescue and recover workers have developed certain cancers—in particular prostate, thyroid, leukemia and multiple myeloma—at a significantly higher rate than expected in the general population.

National law firm Parker Waichman LLP was actively involved in the original effort to pass the Zadroga Act, and members of the firm have fought for years to ensure that the heroes of 9/11 are taken care of. Matthew J. McCauley, Senior Litigation Counsel at Parker Waichman, has been at the heart of these efforts, often in collaboration with the firm’s clients. Mr. McCauley comments, “Illnesses related to the 9/11 attacks may not manifest for many years. Extending coverage of the Zadroga Act will help provide aid to rescue workers who are diagnosed with cancer and other conditions related to the attacks.” Dr. Ellen Koffler, Cancer Care Coordinator of the WTC Health Program, said those who are ill or may become ill “deserve to be treated as long as they live.” Joseph Zadroga, father of the deceased NYPD officer for whom the act is named, is concerned about those who have yet to be diagnosed with 9/11-related cancers. They cannot be allowed to “fall through the cracks,” Zadroga said. According to the video, 9/11 survivors reside in all 50 states and in 429 out of 435 congressional districts.

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