Tags: Cancer | 9 | 11 | september | attacks | world | trade

Cancer Rate Skyrockets for 9-11 Ground Zero Cops

(Copyright AP)

By    |   Monday, 12 October 2015 04:18 PM

Cancer rates for New York City police offers who were among the first to respond to the 9-11 terrorist attacks have skyrocketed in the past two years — far exceeding the number of expected cases, according to a new study.

The analysis — conducted by New York Police Department staff and experts from Weill-Cornell Medical College and Columbia University/New York Presbyterian Medical Center — found cops who worked at Ground Zero after the attacks on the World Trade Center had 50 percent more cancer diagnoses than officers in the years before.

It comes just days after Congress let lapse a federal fund to help pay for September 11 victims' healthcare.

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The findings, first reported by the New York Post, are based on an analysis of the medical records of nearly 40,000 cops who were on the job on September 11 through 2014. Among them:
  • Cancer diagnoses among officers who were first responders were 50 percent higher between 2002 and 2014 than those among NYPD cops between 1995 and 2001.
  • 859 cops have been diagnosed with cancer (11 have more than type).
  • The most common cancers: colon, prostate, breast cancer.
  • Huge spikes of rarer cancer types linked to environmental toxins were observed among the cops. Brain and kidney cancer cases have tripled since 2001; thyroid cancer doubled; and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnoses are up 50 percent.
  • 56 percent of the officers with cancer were at Ground Zero within 24 hours of the attacks, when the toxic debris cloud was the most intense. About 81 percent served there at some point later.
  • Only 16.5 percent of cops with cancer are or were smokers.
“These cancers are thus troubling — even in their small numbers — due to the fact they have either doubled or tripled in our internal comparison between the pre- and post-exposure periods, and there are no clear explanations for their increased rates,” the study said.

Health experts say the increased cancer rates are likely attributable to the toxic smoke cloud that sent some 1.5 million tons of debris into the air when the towers fell. The debris cloud and smoke hung over Ground Zero for many days after September, and it would change color —  orange one day, fluorescent blue the next — because of the chemical soup in the air.

Among the toxins in the cloud: asbestos (some 400 tons alone) benzene, dioxins, and various other cancer-causing chemicals released by fires.

To date, some 2,500 first responders, police officers, firefighters, medics, rescuers, sanitation workers, city employees, volunteers, and others who were at Ground Zero have been diagnosed with cancer — half of them just last year. At least 1,000 have died from cancer, other causes.

As a result, more first responders and others who tried to help victims of the attacks may eventually die than the nearly 3,000 who perished when the towers fell on Septebter 11.

Discover Magazine recently reported almost 70 percent of World Trade Center first responders have become ill or are experiencing breathing complications, along with people who lived in the surrounding area.

According to federal officials, at least 33,000 first responders and survivors across the country suffer from at least one illness or injury related to the attacks, and many have multiple, severe illnesses.

State lawmakers established the Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act — named after James Zadroga, who died from a respiratory disease tied to the toxic dust cloud in the aftermath of the twin towers attacks. The Zadroga Act provided funding for healthcare programs for responders and survivors.

In 2010, Congress passed the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9-11 Victims Compensation Fund. About 115 cancer claimants have been awarded a total $50.5 million — ranging from $400,000 to $4.1 million — from the fund.

But last month, Congress failed to to reauthorize the act, and its funding will soon expire.
Legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Peter King (R-N.Y.) would reauthorize the fund, and make the act permanent.

“Congress missed an important deadline to reauthorize the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9-11 Victims Compensation Fund, and soon the first responders and survivors of the worst terrorist attack on American soil in our history will receive notice — the programs that provide healthcare and offer financial support to our 9-11 heroes are expiring,” the lawmakers wrote, in an article published by The Hill.

“We are talking about real heroes … These men and women won’t suddenly stop being sick when the programs expire. The costs of their medications or of the time off from work won’t suddenly stop because Congress failed to act. Their illnesses and the personal tolls are permanent. The least Congress can do is make the care and compensation programs we promised permanent as well…

“Passing a permanent reauthorization of the [act] would put to rest the question of whether ‘Never forget 9-11’ is just a slogan on a bumper sticker or a sacred commitment by public servants to those who risked so much and lost so much that day. If Congress fails to act, that question will answer itself.”

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Cancer rates for NYC police offers who were among the first to respond to the 9-11 terrorist attacks have skyrocketed - far exceeding the number of expected cases, according to a new study. The findings come just days after Congress let lapse a federal fund to pay for 9-11 victims' healthcare.
9, 11, september, attacks, world, trade, center, cops, cancer
Monday, 12 October 2015 04:18 PM
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