Posts Tagged ‘Ground Zero’

9/11 first responders, workers continue to fall ill as 12th anniversary of tragedy is marked

11 Sep 2013 by under Events, Legal, News, People

firefighters at WTC site 100x100 9/11 first responders, workers continue to fall ill as 12th anniversary of tragedy is markedToday Americans pause to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, when terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in City, and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., along with a failed attempt that downed a jetliner in a field in Pennsylvania, changed our nation forever. But as we stop to think of those who lost their lives on that day, the lingering effects of toxic debris at in New York continue to plague first responders and workers who cleared the debris. Many others also were exposed to toxins at the Pentagon and the plane crash site. (more…)

People exposed to toxins at WTC site during 9/11 call for cancer coverage

10 Sep 2011 by under Legal, News

firefighters at WTC site 100x100 People exposed to toxins at WTC site during 9/11 call for cancer coverageIn the wake of several new studies that indicate an increased risk of cancer among firefighters and others exposed to toxins at the World Trade Center site during , there is an outcry to include cancer among the conditions eligible for coverage by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. (more…)

Study reveals persistent, significant reduction in lung function for 9/11 responders, workers

8 Apr 2010 by under Events, Legal, News, Research/Treatment

firefighters at WTC site 100x100 Study reveals persistent, significant reduction in lung function for 9/11 responders, workersA study published today in The New England Journal of Medicine reveals that Fire Department of New York () firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) workers who responded to the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center have suffered significant, persistent declines in lung functions. According to the report, exposure to World Trade Center dust created when the towers collapsed led to “large declines” in lung functions for FDNY rescue workers during the first year, and that “the declines were persistent, without recovery over the next 6 years, leaving a substantial proportion of workers with abnormal lung function.”

The study included 12,781 workers who were present at the WTC site between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 24, 2001, which is 91.6 percent of the workers that were present. The report notes that the event exposed the workers – as well as those living and working in the surrounding area – to a dense cloud of pulverized building materials and chemical byproducts, including pulverized glass and cement, insulation fibers including asbestos, and toxic chemicals.

According to a report in The New York Times that summarizes the study findings, this is the first study to document long-term harm in a large group of firefighters and emergency medical workers who worked at Ground Zero. All of the subjects of the study had had previous lung function tests, providing a baseline for the study.

The study was authored by Dr. David J. Prezant, chief medical officer in the Office of Medical Affairs at the New York City Fire Department. The study was approved by the institutional review board at Montefiore Medical Center.

Results of the study revealed that firefighters, who had heavier exposure to dust by the nature of their work had greater first-year declines than EMS personnel, especially for firefighters who were present in the morning on 9/11, when the dust cloud was most intense after the buildings fell. However, researchers noted they were surprised to see “little or no recovery of average lung function during the 6-year follow-up period.” In fact, they noted continued decline in lung function among the study groups.

Normally, the study notes, “smoke inhalation during firefighting causes relatively mild and reversible respiratory impairment.” Additionally, according to the report, long-term effects of firefighting on pulmonary function also are normally mild.

The average loss of lung function for 9/11 rescue workers is about 10 percent. Most of the loss occurred within the first year after 9/11 exposure, with little or no subsequent recovery.

Thousands of workers injured at Ground Zero have been fighting for compensation from the City of New York. Last month about 10,000 plaintiffs reached a settlement agreement totaling $657.5 million, but a judge rejected the settlement shortly afterward, saying it did not provide enough compensation for the plaintiffs. The matter is now back in negotiations, and a new hearing is set for Monday, according to the Times.

9/11 rescue, cleanup workers reach health care settlement with City

12 Mar 2010 by under Events, Legal, News

workers at WTC 100x100 9/11 rescue, cleanup workers reach health care settlement with CityA story published by the New York Times reports thousands of rescue and cleanup workers who were exposed to the toxic air at Ground Zero after the 9/11 tragedy at the World Trade Center have reached a settlement agreement with the city over damage to their health. According to the Times, the city has agreed to pay out up to $657.5 million to about 10,000 plaintiffs in the case.

The settlement agreement has been in the works for about two years, taking place among a great deal of confusion and disagreement about the city’s responsibility for injured workers. The city had claimed it was immune because injuries occurred during a national emergency or civil defense situation. However, injured workers and their families argued they were employed by the city and entitled to compensation as they would be for any injury incurred on the job.

According to the Times report, 95 percent of the plaintiffs in this case must accept the terms of the settlement for it to take effect. Each plaintiff’s case will then be examined individually to determine how much compensation that person will receive, which lawyers estimate could run anywhere from a few thousand dollars to as much as $1 million. Individual compensation will depend on the severity of illness and level of exposure to contaminants at the World Trade Center site.

A variety of health screening and tracking programs were established in the days and months following the tragedy. Workers and others who simply lived and worked near the disaster site began complaining of a variety of illnesses, especially respiratory problems. There is an official World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, as well as studies conducted by the Fire Department and other organizations.

Some health problems presented immediately following exposure to the site, such as respiratory distress, while others are only just showing up in those who worked at the site. It is now known that the Ground Zero site was contaminated with asbestos at levels at least two times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s “safe” level. Because of the long latency period between exposure to asbestos and the development of mesothelioma – an average of between 10 and 50 years – the true effect of asbestos exposure may not be known for years to come.

Some of the plaintiffs involved in the current settlement are not yet ill, but fear they will develop illnesses in the future as a result of their exposure to the toxins like asbestos. According to the Times, the settlement provides a $23.4 million insurance policy to cover possible future claims.

CDC grant for possible Ground Zero illnesses

31 Jul 2008 by under News, Research/Treatment

The (CDC) recently announced a new program to provide $30 million in grant money for health screenings, assessments, monitoring and tracking, and improved access to health care services and treatments for those who may have been impacted by the World Trade Center collapse on Sept. 11. The grant will be available not only to first responders and other workers, but also to hundreds of thousands of Manhattan residents who live or lived near the Twin Towers.

The buildings’ collapse released thousands of pounds of hazardous material into the atmosphere, which may have included a combination of glass, asbestos, fiberglass, pulverized concrete, lead, mercury, cadmium, dioxins and PCBs. Construction of the World Trade Center buildings was begun before the use of asbestos was banned in the U.S., and some estimates say as much as 400 tons of asbestos fiber was in the buildings.

People near Ground Zero could experience a number of medical problems as a result of their exposure to this toxic dust, including respiratory problems and asbestos disease including mesothelioma.

In an official release from the CDC, Christine Branche, acting director of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (), said, “These public health dollars extend the reach of our efforts so that they help support the provision of the health care services to residents, students, an others who were in the vicinity of the attacks of September 11, 2001.”

The release says the NIOSH-administered grants provide up to $10 million per year for three years, and the money can be used to help cover gaps when individuals’ public or private insurance is insufficient to fully cover the costs associated with care or treatment.

Funding will be provided to one to three organizations, with the deadline for proposal submission set for Aug. 25, 2008. For more information about how to apply for one of these grants, visit The CDC encourages health and medical care facilities to apply.

The CDC says it already has invested at least $925 million in programs to support responders to the 9/11 emergency.

Meso Foundation NY chapter Walk for Hope

28 Mar 2008 by under Events, Organizations

One of our readers, Erica Iacono, works with the Volunteer Chapter of the (Meso Foundation). She has asked us to help get the word out about an event scheduled in East Meadow, NY, April 13. Here is her release. If you live in that area, please get out and support this great effort!


MERRICK, NY: The New York Volunteer Chapter of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) will hold the third annual “5K Walk for Hope” on April 13, 2008 at 10am in Eisenhower Park, located in East Meadow, NY. Over the past two years, the event has raised more than $30K and the volunteer team hopes to build on that success. All proceeds will go to the Meso Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) organization that has awarded more than $5 million in grants for mesothelioma research since 2000.

Mesothelioma is an extremely rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos and most often affects the lungs, although it can also invade the stomach and groin areas. In the United States, 2,500 to 4,000 patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma annually, yet the disease has yet to find the national spotlight for research and funding.

The 9/11 tragedy in New York City demonstrates the continued, long-term threat of mesothelioma. Estimates of the amount of asbestos destroyed in the terrorist attack in Manhattan range as high as 1,000 tons. The impact pulverized this asbestos into tiny, microscopic fibers to which the firefighters, rescue workers, and other heroes of 9/11 were exposed, as well as workers, residents, and school children who returned to the area in the weeks and months following.

After mesothelioma’s long latency period, which is 15-50 years, the risk of cancer among those most heavily exposed could reach as high as one in ten. This year alone has seen the number of reported cases of illness and death of Ground Zero workers increase and unfortunately that number will only continue to rise, which is why more research is needed.

Registration for “5K Walk for Hope” is $15. Those who are interested in participating should contact Janice Malkotsis at (917) 751-2776. For more information about The Meso Foundation, please visit

FDNY honors Paramedic Deborah Reeve

13 Mar 2008 by under Events, Organizations, People

fdny magnet.thumbnail FDNY honors Paramedic Deborah ReeveIt was reported by on March 11 that the New York City Fire Department planned to honor paramedic Deborah Reeve, who died of mesothelioma in 2006, with a plaque at EMS Station 20 in the Bronx, NY.

The article mentions that Reeve worked at a morgue in the toxic dust of Ground Zero following 9-11.

While her death has not been officially linked to exposure to materials released from the collapsing buildings, there is a great deal of study about the link between the disaster and mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, which affect many of the immediate responders and those who worked on the site in the many days and months afterward.

Today, the official New York City Fire Department web site has the story:

EMS officers, paramedics and EMTs attended the plaque dedication for Paramedic Deborah Reeve on March 11 at EMS Station 20 in the Bronx. Paramedic Reeve died of mesothelioma (lung ) on March 15, 2006. “This loss was a great blow to the members of this EMS station, the Department and the City of New York,” said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. “But we hope this ceremony will serve as a reminder to her family that we understand your pain has not diminished and your loss has not been forgotten.” Paramedic Reeve served with the EMS Command for 17 years before her death. She was remembered as smart, hard working and an outstanding paramedic. “She was the strongest person I ever met,” said Reeve’s husband, Paramedic David Reeve, also of Station 20. He recalled how they met at the EMS Training Academy, when she sat behind him in class and made fun of his southern accent. He was joined at the ceremony by their children, Elizabeth, 12, and Mark, 8. “All new members should try to model themselves after Debbie – the commitment and dedication she showed every day,” said Chief of Department Salvatore Cassano. Chief of EMS John Peruggia read the poem “She is Gone” in Paramedic Reeve’s memory, saying it emphasized “the importance of remembering Debbie, who gave so much to this city.” The plaque was unveiled to cheers and tears from her family, friends and fellow EMS personnel. It will be hung at EMS Station 20, located at Jacobi Medical Center in the Morris Park/Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx. “She was an excellent, outstanding paramedic … she really knew her stuff,” said Captain Felipe Periu of Station 20.