New York City Council members are calling for the Zadroga Act, which provides compensation and medical treatment to 9/11 victims, to be renewed. According to press release issued Jan. 7, a resolution was introduced by Council Member Margaret Chin, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Members Paul Vallone and I. Daneek Miller urging the federal government to reauthorize the act.
The Zadroga Act was named after New York City Police Department (NYPD) Detective James L. Zadroga, who died of respiratory illness due to toxic dust exposure during the clean-up efforts of 9/11. The resolution was introduced two days after the ninth anniversary of his death.
President Obama signed the Zadroga Act into law in January 2011. The act has two crucial programs: the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides medical treatment and monitoring to 9/11 rescue workers and first responders, and the re-opened Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The WTC Health Program and VCF are due to expire in October 2015 and October 2016, respectively.
According to the Council’s release, over 800 members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and 550 members of the NYPD suffer from illnesses as a result of the 9/11 attacks. Additionally, there are roughly 30,000 other first responders and survivors, including lower Manhattan residents, living with these illnesses as well.
The release states that “The expiration of these programs would leave those many thousands of 9/11 survivors and first responders and their families without the treatment they need, as well as the compensation they need for medical bills and to support themselves if they are permanently disabled and unable to work.”
The push to renew the Zadroga Act occurred last September, when Congressmember Carolyn Maloney and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand led a group of lawmakers introducing legislation for reauthorization, thereby extending the VCF and WTC Health Program another 25 years until 2041. The City Council resolution calls on Congress to pass that legislation quickly, and also calls on the President to sign it into law.
Joe Zadroga, the father of James Zadroga, and others joined the Council members in announcing the resolution. “This week marks the ninth anniversary of my son James Zadroga’s death. Much has happened in that time. The true toll exacted by 9/11 has unfolded slowly. We lost people when the planes struck. And we lost people when the buildings collapsed. Still more, like Jimmy, would develop horrible lung ailments in the wake of 9/11. And now we know from scientific data and NIOSH that thousands have been stricken with cancer linked to the WTC toxic dust. The first responders continue to pay a terrible price for the work they did at Ground Zero.“ Joe Zadroga said.