(RxWiki News) The air around ground zero was more toxic than anyone realized on that fateful day 11 years ago today. Many of the first responders are no longer alive. They’ve died of a number of illnesses, including cancer.
The federal government has added 58 different types of cancers to the illnesses now linked to the 9/11 attacks.
This means first responders and others living near ground zero will have health benefits to cover the costs of treating these diseases.
"Take a minute to reflect on 9/11."
According to the New York Post, about 400 rescue workers and residents have died of cancer. Reuters puts the number closer to 1,000. Thousands more are being treated or being monitored by the World Trade Center Health Program.
The World Trade Center Health Program was created as the result of the Zadroga Act, which was named after NYPD Detective James Zadroga, who died at the age of 34 after toiling at ground zero.
The delay in covering cancer comes because there was no scientific evidence that showed a causal link between ground zero toxins and cancer.
John Howard, MD, administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program, had proposed several months ago that the program accept the recommendations of its Science/Technical Advisory Committee to add 14 categories of cancers to the coverage list.
The proposal stated, “The advisory committee review called for expanded "coverage for certain types of cancer resulting from exposure to toxins released at Ground Zero."
An estimated 950 to 2,150 people are expected to take advantage of the additional coverage.
"The publication of this final rule marks an important step in the effort to provide needed treatment and care to 9/11 responders and survivors through the WTC Health Program," Howard said in a statement Monday.
It’s anticipated the rule will take effect 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register, according to Howard.
9/11 responder, Kenny Specht, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that this action "took much too long.” Saying it’s time to move forward, Specht said, “And let’s not forget those who have passed away. Unfortunately what happened today comes much too late for them.”