Terror Never Fades: Number of 9/11 Cancer Victims Grow. September 11, 2001, is a day that will forever be etched in the minds and hearts of Americans. That day, colloquially known as 9/11, claimed the lives of 2,700 people at the World Trade Centers in lower Manhattan when two fully-fueled jet airplanes commandeered by hijackers slammed into the “Twin Towers.” Police, fire, and ambulance personnel selflessly streamed to the raging infernos nearly 1,000 feet above the ground. They were only concerned with saving lives and extinguishing the fire when the unthinkable happened.
As news of the terror attacks spread, we watched in horror and disbelief when each iconic building collapsed into a heap of dust and rubble, pulverizingeverything nearby. People covered in dust and ash filled the streets in the area trying to flee from danger.The plumes of dust, ash, and smoke blocked out the sun. The toxic air spread across Manhattan and into Brooklyn as well.First responders continued to flood the scene as they dug through the pile of debris desperately looking for signs of life. They jumped into the heap of twisted metal and concrete without regard for their own safety.
In the days and weeks that followed, the death toll continued to rise. The cleanup took years, and we began to heal as a nation. Eventually, the Freedom Tower took the place of the World Trade Center buildings,but the death and sickness attributable to 9/11refuse to abate. Some physicians who work in New York fear that the actual health crisis caused by 9/11 is just beginning.
The north and south towers of the World Trade Center contained a substantial amount of asbestos. The asbestos infiltrated that air in New York when the buildings collapsed. Asbestos fibers saturated the sky. People who were in lower Manhattan had no choice but to breathe that toxic, carcinogenic air.
Asbestos was not the only toxic substance case in the sky that day. The buildings also contained mercury, fiberglass, and benzene. Experts estimate that nearly 1 million pounds of carcinogenic particles flew into the air when the buildings collapsed. Asbestos exposure is linked to severe, chronic, and deadly illnesses such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and stomach cancer. Researchers have also linked the other substances to cancer as well.
A well-respected New York physicianand asbestos disease expertnoted that he is seeing numerous cases of asbestos-related diseases cropping up in the city. The doctor indicated that there are more cases of respiratory problems and asbestos-related cancers than before. But, a potential crisis lurks in the years that lay ahead. The physician noted that many of the asbestos-causing health problems take 15 to 20 years to incubate and surface. Consequently, the New York area could be on the verge of a massive health crisis from the 9/11 terror attacks. That reality could raise the death toll from almost 3,000 into the millions, according to the doctor.
The people trapped in lower Manhattan that day are not the only ones in danger. The doctor believes that anyone who was in the vicinity of New York on 9/11 or the days following have an increased chance of falling victim to asbestos exposure because the airborne fibers spread across the city.
Children Are At Risk
The renown physician also cautions that the children who were in New York on 9/11 are at a tremendous risk for developing pulmonary problems linked to asbestos exposure. The youngest children exposed to carcinogens are now in their teens. The doctor recommends that they should receive CAT scans with low doses of radiation could help with early detection of asbestos-related diseases. The tests should be repeated annually to mark any significant structural changes in the patient’s lungs. The grim reality is that there is no cure for these health problems like asbestosis.
There is no guarantee anyone exposed to asbestos will develop any health problems due to exposure. However, the onset of those health issues could still be years away. Therefore, people who were younger at the time of the attacks should remain vigilant about making sure that their health is a priority.
The Link Between 9/11 and Cancer
New York’s Health Department conducted a study in 2012 to determine whether people who were exposed to the debris on 9/11 presented an elevated risk for contracting cancer. The study examined 55,000 people who identified themselves at or near “Ground Zero.” Among them, 1,187 had cancer at one stage or another when the study was conducted. The researchers saw an increase in diseases such as thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, and myeloma when compared to the general population of the state of New York.
Notwithstanding the results of the study, the researchers were unable to find a statistically significant link between 9/11 and cancer. They also could not rule it out, either. Researchers could not account for the incubation period of some diseases. This failure is one of the most significant shortfalls of the study. Consequently, the researchers could not rule out the possibility of a statistically significant link developing over time. Additionally, the researchers do suspect that exposure to debris from9/11 causes cancer, but could not statistically justify their suspicions.
Two Well-Known Cancer Victims Provide Anecdotal Evidence of a Link From 9/11 to Cancer
Mary Borders died from stomach cancer in 2012. A quick-thinking photographer captured her image on 9/11. Mary was near the Ground Zero when the buildings collapsed. She was caught in the plume of smoke and particles. The dust covered her like a gray blanket. Mary became widely recognized as “Dust Lady.” She died believing that her terminal health problems came from being covered by debris on 9/11.
Ray Pfeifer was a New York City fireman. He worked at Ground Zero for nearly eight months continuously. He died from brain and stomach cancer that was positively linked to his efforts sifting through the carnage of the former World Trade Center buildings. Ray succumbed to the disease earlier in 2017.
Ray was not the only firefighter to fall victim to respiratory problems from working at Ground Zero. In 2002, a pulmonary specialist working for the New York City Fire Department devised the term “World Trade Centercough” after treating hundreds of firemen who developed respiratory ailments after long-term exposure to the debris at Ground Zero.
Many other first responders like Ray died or fell ill from their heroic efforts. To date, 2,500 first responders have developed some form of cancer. Those cancers include lung, pancreatic, thyroid, prostate, multiple myeloma, esophageal, and leukemia.
Compensation for Victims
The U.S. government established a 9/11 victims’ fund from 2001 to 2004. This fundcompensated families of the deceased and persons injured or sickened from the terror attacks. In 2011, the U.S. government passed a bill called the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.” James Zadroga was a New York City police officer who died from respiratory disease after responding to the World Trade Center. This fund compensates victims who suffer from nearly 50 forms of cancer and other diseases caused by exposure to contaminants. The fund was about to expire in 2015 but now expires in 2020.
Receiving a settlement from either of these funds comes with legal obligations. In exchange for payment, the victim must agree not to sue any of the airlines whose planes were hijacked on 9/11.
Turn to Parker Waichman LLP for Help
As a New York-based law firm, we too were effected by the events of 9/11. We promise to work diligently to win you the compensation you deserve from the terror attacks. Call Parker Waichman’s 9/11 illness lawyers today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-768-7529) or fill out our online contact form to schedule a no obligation and free case review.
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