Washington D.C. Rally Today in Support of Extension of Zadroga 9.11 Health Compensation ActSep 15, 2015
On September 16, 2015, a group of 9/11 first responders, survivors and their families, physicians, and numerous advocates will gather in Washington DC to lobby Congress to permanently extend and fully fund the bipartisan James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act.
Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has fought to ensure that the heroes of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are never forgotten, will be among those who will join former "Daily Show" host, Jon Stewart in this effort to secure a permanent extension of the programs on which many survivors and survivor families rely.
Matthew J. McCauley, a 9/11 responder and now senior litigation counsel at Parker Waichman, says, "These individuals answered the call for help at a time when their country needed them most." Mr. McCauley worked for passage of the original legislation in 2010 and believes the responders and their families "deserve these benefits," but he notes that the expiration dates for the Zadroga act programs are imminent.
In 2010, Mr. Stewart aired an entire show that focused on the illnesses and deaths first responders, survivors, and their families have endured. Many believe Mr. Stewart's advocacy was significant in helping to see passage of the original 2010 Zadroga bill. In April 2015, a bipartisan group of Senators and House of Representative members introduced legislation in both chambers for permanent extension of the Zadroga Act programs: HR. 1786/S. 928. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is a key sponsor and advocate in the bipartisan group of 37 senators and 151 House members.
Participants in the Zadroga Act's health and compensation programs live in all 50 United States and in 429 of the 435 congressional districts. The original bill provided benefits through the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, which supplies medical treatment and monitoring, and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which provides compensation.
Citizens for Extension of the Zadroga Act emphasizes that deaths and illnesses did not end with the 9/11 terrorist attacks but continue to mount due to the toxins, including carcinogens, released at Ground Zero. Thousands of people involved in the rescue and recovery effort worked in dangerous conditions, often without proper protective equipment. A wide array of dangerous chemicals, carcinogens, asbestos, and pulverized cement were released when the Twin Towers fell and continued to spread and settle in homes, offices, and buildings. Tens of thousands of people were exposed. Citizens for Extension of the Zadroga Act reports that more than 85 NYPD officers and 130 firefighters have died from 9/11 injuries since the day of the attacks. More than 33,000 9/11 responders and survivors have been diagnosed with an illness or injury resulting from the attacks, or their aftermath. Many have been diagnosed with more than one 9/11-related illness and many are disabled and no longer able to work.
They suffer a variety of chronic and deadly diseases, including asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and various cancers. More than 50 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins have been identified.
"Some responders and survivors may not even be aware that they are suffering from a condition due to 9/11," said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman. "Unless the Zadroga Act is extended, these individuals will lose access to critical medical care, monitoring, and compensation." The health care portion of the act expires next month and the money for the services will be depleted by October 2016 if the law isn't renewed. Parker Waichman remains dedicated to fighting for the rights of responders and survivors and is involved in today's rally to continue efforts to safeguard these heroes and ensure Zadroga Act compensation is available.