The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 claimed more than just the nearly 3,000 lives that were lost in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington DC and on the airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania.
In addition to those victims, thousands of additional New Yorkers — primarily first responders — were exposed to asbestos during and after the fall of NYC’s iconic Twin Towers. This placed thousands of individuals at risk of asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleurisy, pleural effusion and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In a late December 2015 hearing, U.S. politicians have decided to extend the Zadroga Act for a period of 75 years for first responders who were exposed to asbestos on 9/11.
What is the Zadroga Act?
The Zadroga Act is a piece of legislation that affords extended health benefits to individuals who were exposed to asbestos on 9/11. In addition to asbestos, first responders who worked for weeks at ground zero were also exposed to other airborne contaminants, in addition to the hazardous mineral known as asbestos.
The Zadroga Act was named in memory of James Zadroga, a police detective who died in January 2006 as a result of health problems that were believed to be the result of exposure to asbestos and other harmful contaminants on September 11th. It’s believed that Zadroga spent over 500 hours working at the World Trade Center Ground Zero site.
Asbestos was long favored for its heat resistant properties and its ability to insulate, while resisting degradation due to flames, moisture and even some corrosive chemicals. Therefore, asbestos was widely used in many buildings — commercial and residential — in the period leading up to the 1970s. It wasn’t until the late 1970s and early 1980s that the dangers of asbestos exposure prompted a movement away from the useful but dangerous material.
The extension of the Zadroga Act, which was soon set to expire, is good news for individuals who were exposed to harmful contaminants such as asbestos on 9/11. This is especially important in the case of those exposed to asbestos because the symptoms of many asbestos diseases and conditions, such as mesothelioma, can take 20, 30 or even 40 or more years to manifest. So this 75 year extension of the health benefits comes as welcome news to those who were exposed but have not yet manifested symptoms of mesothelioma or other serious asbestos diseases.
Health researchers have identified over 50 varieties of cancer linked to 9/11 toxins such as asbestos.
Additional Programs for 9/11 First Responders Exposed to Asbestos
In addition to the extension of the Zadroga Act for a period of 75 years, Congress also opted to extend the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund for five additional years.
The federally funded program is designed to help first responders who were sickened by asbestos exposure and other harmful agents on 9/11, leaving them too ill to work.
Representative Carolyn Mahoney (D-Manhattan) was one of the proponents for securing long-term health benefits and programs for 9/11 first responders. She remarked, “After 15 years, the heroes and survivors of 9/11 will know that their health care is permanent and their compensation is full.”
It’s estimated that over 33,000 first responders and 9/11 survivors have been sickened by Ground Zero asbestos and other hazardous airborne particles stemming from the terrorist attacks. Approximately 200 9/11 first responders have died from asbestos exposure, asthma, respiratory diseases and other ailments stemming from harmful 9/11 exposure-related incidents.
It’s estimated that over 70,000 benefit from the various 9/11 benefits programs and survivors’ funds.
Help for Asbestos Exposure Victims
At Mesowatch, they strive to provide resources, information and legal consultations to mesothelioma patients and others impacted by asbestos diseases. We understand how frightening and devastating mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases can be, so our goal is to provide the support and information you need to maximize the quality of life for victims and their loved ones.
The experienced mesothelioma lawyers are available to provide clients suffering from asbestos diseases (or the loved ones of now deceased individuals) with a free and confidential case evaluation. Mesowatch.com seasoned asbestos attorneys can provide you with a confidential case evaluation now.