The World Trade Center terrorist attacks had lasting effects on first responders' health, including weekly new diagnoses of cancer and other illnesses caused by the toxic dust, fumes and particles released by the attacks not only at the WTC, but also at the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA.
The World Trade Center Health Program is part of the Zadroga Act, which establishes healthcare and a compensation fund for eligible people.
Late last month, New York congressional members stopped a Trump administration budget proposal that sought to reorganize health agencies, which would have separated the WTC Health Program from the agency (NIOSH) who has been overseeing it since the very beginning.
According to lohud, the needless reorganization may have disrupted the health care of more than 83,000 emergency responders, volunteers and survivors, had the proposal gone through. As for what the proposal included, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney sought to separate the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from the Centers for Disease Control. NIOSH has been connected to the WTC Health Program since 2002, and both agencies have been overseen by the CDC. The proposal asked for NIOSH to be moved from the CDC to the National Institutes of Health. Essentially this breaks apart the NIOSH and the WTC Health Program, wherein lies the problem.
Why would separating the NIOSH and the WTC Health Program matter? For one, it would cause discontinuity in leadership: The Director of NIOSH is also the administrator of the health program, according to lohud.com. NIOSH also has more expertise on the health program than perhaps any other agency, having been involved with 9/11-caused health problems since 2002, and since the inception of the WTC Health Program in 2010.
It's unclear how this unnecessary shuffling of agencies would have been beneficial. Congressional members recognized the harm such a move would have. Thankfully, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison), along with Reps. Peter King (R-Seaford), Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) and Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), led the defeat of the proposal in the House Appropriations Committee.
Health Program for Cancer and other Illnesses caused by 9/11 Toxic Dust
The WTC Health Program provides medical monitoring and treatment for the following parties involved in the response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks:
- First responders
- Recovery workers
- Cleanup workers
Additionally, the Health Program provides health evaluations and treatment for those eligible individuals who were present in the disaster area of lower Manhattan on 9/11 or for a certain number of months following. Such individuals may have worked, lived or went to school in the area at the time, and were exposed to toxic dust as a result.
More than 80,000 first responders and survivors have already received medical monitoring and treatment through this vital health program, and we can expect many more to come forward with new diagnoses in the decades ahead. The continuation of the WTC Health Program is vital to providing for the brave men and women who sacrificed so much in the aftermath of tragedy.
Find Out if You Have a Claim
At Eisbrouch Marsh, our compassionate attorneys are ready to answer your questions about the WTC Health Program and whether you may qualify. For a FREE consultation, please call us now, in Hackensack and Newark at 201-342-5545, and in New York at 212-643-0044.