Over 2,500 9/11 Emergency Workers Have Cancer

Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 01:56 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A growing number of Ground Zero first responders and rescuers are seeking compensation for their illnesses, and more than 2,500 of them have contracted cancer.

That toll has climbed from the 1,140 cancer cases reported just last year, according to the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital.

The program has counted 1,655 responders, out of the 37,000 police, sanitation workers and other city employees and volunteers it monitors, reports The New York Post. And when firefighters and EMTs are added, the total rises to 2,518.

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Editor’s Note:
5 Signs Cancer Is Starting Inside Your Body

The city's Fire Department has its own World Trade Center program, and notes there are 863 members with cancers that have been certified for 9-11 treatment.

Compensation amounts are being distributed. For example, one retired FDNY captain, at 63, received a $1.5 million award from the federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund during an expedited hearing in May, after contracting lung disease and inoperable pancreatic cancer while he worked at the site for a week after the attacks.

The man testified that he worries about his wife of 40 years, and hopes more cases are rushed because sufferers are not expected to last long.

The latest findings are more than twice the number of reported cancer cases up to September of last year, when epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said some 1,140 people suffered from WTC-related cancers.

"There are more cases out there, because we just know of the people in our government-funded medical programs, not those who have been treated by their private doctors," Dr. Jim Melius, who oversees health programs for 9/11 first responders at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Daily Mail.

A estimated 60,270 people are said to be at risk of deadly diseases after inhaling dust and fumes from the World Trade Centers' lower columns and from benzene in leaking jet fuel. Other toxins include lead from 50,000 shattered computers and mercury from thousands of light bulbs that were pulverized when the buildings came down.

The retired firefighter, whose name was not provided in The Post report, said he commandeered a city bus and helped shut down the Brooklyn Bridge so he and his crew from Ladder Co. 132 could join in the dig for victims, and he knew that day a lot of them would become ill.

He retired in 2008 after lung damage left him unable to fight fires, and last year, doctors discovered an inoperable tumor wrapped around his arteries.

The 6 ft.-2 inch firefighter, now 63, weighed 240 on 9/11, but now weighs 160 pounds, and says his grandchildren give him joy but he's too weak to do much with them. He doesn't understand why responders are having to wait for two years to get their awards.

The VCF has received, as of June 30, 1,145 claims listing cancer. Of those, 881 have been deemed eligible for compensation. Most are 9/11 workers, but there are 17 downtown residents and five visitors included.

Of those, 115, cancer claimants have received a total of $50.5 million in awards, in sums ranging from $400,000 to $4.1 million, and the VCF can't say how many claimants have died.

There is an Oct. 14 deadline for cancer claims, and many more sufferers or their next-of-kin are expected to file for benefits.

According to epidemiologists, 9/11 workers have gotten cancers such as prostate, thyroid, leukemia, and multiple myeloma at higher rates than other populations.

Editor’s Note: 5 Signs Cancer Is Starting Inside Your Body

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