A Resolution Calling on the Federal Government. Last week, New York City Council Member Margaret Chin, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and members Paul Vallone and I. Daneek Miller introduced a resolution calling on the federal government to reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act.
James Zadroga, for whom the act is named, died of respiratory illnesses resulting from his exposure to toxic dust after engaging in rescue and recovery operations at following the 9/11 attacks.
The Zadroga Act, signed into law by President Obama in January 2011, provides health care and compensation to 9/11 first responders, community members, workers, and volunteers who suffer from 9/11-related illnesses including respiratory diseases, various types of cancers, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions. Currently, more than 800 members of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and 550 members of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), still suffer from 9/11-related illnesses, along with approximately 30,000 others, including residents and workers in Lower Manhattan, according to a news release from the City Council.
Two Critical Components of the Zadroga Act
Two critical components of the Zadroga Act—the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund—are set to set to expire in October 2015 and October 2016, respectively, unless the act is renewed. If these programs expire, thousands would be left without the treatment they need, as well as compensation for medical bills, and support if they are permanently disabled and unable to work.
In September 2014, a group of federal lawmakers led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation that would reauthorize the Zadroga Act and extend the WTC Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund through 2041. The City Council resolution calls on Congress to swiftly pass that legislation and for the President to sign it into law.
The number of 9/11-related cancer cases among rescue workers and responders has increased over the past decade and continues to grow, according to 9/11 Health Watch. WTC epidemiologists say 9/11 workers have gotten certain cancers at a significantly higher rate than expected in the normal population, in particular prostate, thyroid, leukemia and multiple myeloma.
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