Each anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the country pays tribute to the thousands of lives lost and the heroes who responded to the disaster including law enforcement, firefighters and other emergency workers. Although their acts of heroism are acknowledged and celebrated, less known are the devastating health consequences from which many suffer.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, as of August 2013, at least 1,140 World Trade Center (WTC) responders have been diagnosed with some form of cancer.
The following are the top 10 WTC-related cancers (and the number of cases) identified so far:
- non-melanoma skin cancer – 156;
- melanoma skin cancer – 117;
- non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – 112;
- thyroid – 97;
- leukemia – 76;
- lung – 72;
- kidney – 68;
- bladder – 62;
- colon – 61; and
- breast – 55.
The cause? Exposure to toxins at Ground Zero; specifically, carcinogens released in the air. According to a study by Mount Sinai Medical Center, the rate of cancer is 15 percent higher for 9/11 responders compared to those never exposed to Ground Zero toxins.
This concern isn’t just with the responders, however. Those who studied, worked or lived in lower Manhattan at the time may also be at risk.
Medical experts indicate that the cancer numbers could be much higher than what’s known. That’s because some individuals exposed to toxins may have received treatment in a private practice instead of a government-funded program.
Federal funding is providing the resources needed to ensure a quick turnaround in diagnosing and treatment. There are approximately 65,000 people who are in the WTC Health Program, which provides free medical monitoring and treatment programs. Those who qualify may be entitled to receive free medical care (including mental health care).
Did you suffer injury because of toxic exposure?
There are many other circumstances in which individuals – at work, home, etc. – may be exposed to toxins. Others exposed to toxins at work or elsewhere may pursue a claim to recover compensation for their damages. Contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates at 800-246-4878 to discuss filing a claim.