Posted on Sep 12, 2013

The horrific attacks that took place on September 11, 2001 are still affecting the heroes who responded to ground zero. Many first responders such as cops and fire fighters have been diagnosed with cancer since the attack. Scientists have found links between the chemicals on scene at ground zero and cancer.

CNN reports that heroes who have developed cancer since 9/11 originally were not being given the honorary treatment and compensation they deserve; even today there are arguments ensuing over what these heroic people should receive. CNN gives the example of one rookie cop who was at ground zero the day of the attack and stationed there for 60 days while he ingested dust. Four years later he was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer and then a few months later blood cancer. He was only thirty-four at the time.

“More than 1,100 people who worked or lived near the World Trade Center on 9/11 have been diagnosed with cancer,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Years after the attack the government has finally agreed to expand the WTC health program to include cancer patients. CNN reports, “About 1,140 people have been certified to receive cancer treatment under the WTC health program. In September 2012 federal health authorities added 58 types of cancers to the list of covered illnesses for people who were exposed to toxins at the site of the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.”

Many researchers and scientists presented clear findings that there were carcinogens around the 9/11 site. “Potential cancer causing agents such as asbestos that coated the World Trade Center buildings’ lower columns, and benzene, a component of jet fuel that caused uncontrollable fires when planes barreled into the twin towers, have long been a cancer concern for researchers. Scientists were also worried about the high volume of particulates and gases inhaled by responders, survivors and people who lived in the area.”

Scientists believe that the first responders who were at ground zero developed cancer early from the dust and chemicals that were there. “Researchers found firefighters who worked at ground zero were 19% more likely to develop cancer than firefighters who did not. There were subtle increases seen in a few cancers in particular, including gastro-esophageal cancers and blood cancers such as multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” according to CNN.

Workers are particularly thankful for The Zadroga Act, which provides compensation and medical services for 9/11 first responders. President Obama signed the necessary legislation in January 2011. The Act is named after a heroic police officer who died of a respiratory disease contracted from the toxins at the 9/11 site.

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Gerry Oginski
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