When the World Trade Centers collapsed on September 11, 2001, they spewed dust filled with hundreds of carcinogenic substances, including jet fuel, asbestos, lead, mercury, and fibrous gas. Those responding to the attacks and living in the area were exposed to many of these cancer-causing substances, and the effects are still being felt to this day.
At least 411 first responders to the attacks in Lower Manhattan died on 9/11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This number more than doubled to at least 1,064 by July 2016, the agency found.
The wider population has also been adversely affected: It has been estimated that as many as 400,000 people may have contracted diseases and mental illnesses linked to September 11. This figure includes those who lived and worked within a mile and a half of Ground Zero, most of whom still don’t know they’re at risk.
Mark Farfel, director of the World Trade Center Health Registry, which tracks the health of more than 71,000 rescue workers and survivors, says, “Many people don’t connect the symptoms they have today to September 11.”
Various health programs have been enacted to deal with the ongoing health effects of the attacks. The World Trade Center Health Program, a federal program designed to treat those living with health conditions linked to the 9/11 attacks, was formed in 2011. The program covers trauma-related injuries, disorders related to breathing and digestion, mental health conditions, and more than 50 cancers that have been associated with 9/11 fallout.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed legislation granting unlimited sick time to any government employee in New York who became ill from working at the World Trade Center rescue and recovery effort.
The bill, which was passed earlier this year, allows rescue and recovery workers who now work for government entities outside New York City to receive the same benefits already offered to city cops, firefighters, correctional officers and sanitation workers.
Source: Los Angeles Times