Memorial service today for Dr. Stephen Levin, advocate for 9/11 worker health

21 Feb 2012 by under Events, News, People, Research/Treatment

stephen m levin md 100x100 Memorial service today for Dr. Stephen Levin, advocate for 9/11 worker healthA memorial service is set for today, Feb. 21, 2012, for Dr. Stephen Levin, who was instrumental in addressing the needs of and other workers whose health was negatively affected during the events of 9/11. Dr. Levin passed away Feb. 7 at age 70 at his home in Uppper Grandview, New York. The memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. ET at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Stern Auditorium, 1468 Madison Avenue at East 100th Street, New York, NY.

Dr. Levin was co-director of the Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, a nationally recognized center for occupational medicine. Within days after the events of 9/11, Dr. Levin gathered his colleagues to develop a plan to provide immediate and ongoing medical treatment for those exposed to the toxic environment of the twin towers collapse.

Studies indicate workers were exposed to a deadly mixture of chemicals and microscopic debris in the explosions, fire and eventual collapse of the buildings. Often with little or no protective gear, workers breathed in carcinogens including asbestos.

Through Dr. Levin’s work, the Center documented worker exposure and provided evidence that would eventually help establish the Zadroga Act, which set up a compensation fund to help people injured by this toxic debris. The fund is available for World Trade Center rescue, recovery and clean-up workers, as well as volunteers and area residents who were exposed to the toxic fumes and dust.

In a letter, Joel Shufro, Executive Director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), and Bill Henning, NYCOSH Board Chair, said, “Steve was first and foremost an advocate for health of workers in the broadest sense. He devoted his life and extraordinary talents not only to ensuring that workers who contracted occupational diseases got the best possible treatment, but to preventing workers from being exposed to the conditions that caused the illnesses. We will miss his impact in the fight for safe workplaces, but will also miss his counsel, his wonderful sense of humor, his ability to work with people from different backgrounds.”

Dr. Levin was a member of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Science Advisory Board and a regular speaker at the group’s annual Asbestos Awareness Week conference. A statement on the ADAO website reads, “Though he is gone from our lives, we will never forget Dr. Levin and all he has done for workers and families around the United States. ADAO continues to send our deepest condolences to his family.”

Dr. Levin also was a regular presenter at the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) annual Symposium. In a statement on their website, Kathy Wiedemer, Meso Foundation executive director, says, “We are saddened by the passing of respected mesothelioma research pioneer and dedicated Meso Foundation ally, Dr. Stephen Levin. Dr. Levin … tirelessly advocated on behalf of mesothelioma patients. He will be missed.”

Sources:
NYCOSH letter
New York Times – obituary
New York Times

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