June 25, 2012 – While the tragic events of September 11, 2001 will be forever engrained in the minds of the American people, there are thousands of workers and volunteers who risked their lives on that dreadful day to help the victims of the terrorist attacks that are now facing their own battles against cancer. With the falling of the twin towers, toxic fumes, smoke, and dust consisting of many contaminants including asbestos filled the air and took over the entire area. Some of the brave men and women who offered their assistance on that day are now sick with various illnesses and in need of health care. Still, others may develop cancer years from now due to the toxic exposures they encountered on that day and in the months that followed.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is a federal law that was passed by Congress in 2010. Under the Zadroga Act, the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program was established so that emergency responders, rescue workers and cleanup personnel who developed certain illnesses or conditions would be eligible for monitoring and health care as well as financial compensation. Conditions initially covered under the Act included respiratory illnesses, mental health disorders, such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder, and injuries resulting from heavy lifting and repetitive stress. Individuals who were diagnosed with cancer were not initially included and many claims have been denied over the last several years.
As previously reported by Shein Law, there has been a strong lobby to include cancers, including mesothelioma, as conditions covered by the Zadroga Act. Research conducted since the attacks has shown a link between the toxic exposures on 9/11 and an increased risk in developing different cancer. As a result of the efforts of many politicians, professionals, organizations and concerned citizens, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been considering the inclusion of certain cancers in the list of covered illnesses under the Act and Dr. John Howard, director of NIOSH, has recently issued a ruling expanding the list to include 50 specific types of the disease. Dr. Howard’s ruling was based on several factors, including the recommendations from a scientific and technical advisory committee comprised of experts in cancer, toxicology and epidemiology, as well as union officials and neighborhood activists.
Fifty Cancers Including Mesothelioma Covered by Zadroga Act
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health ruling extending the health care coverage under the Zadroga Act for a wide variety of cancers includes mesothelioma. Some of the other approved cancers to be covered are lung, trachea, esophageal, bladder, kidney, colon, thyroid, skin, breast, and blood. Childhood cancers were also approved because children are more vulnerable to toxic materials. The $4.3 billion fund will be used to cover medical treatment and compensation for pain and suffering.
Under the Act, the WTC Health Program applies to the responders in New York City, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and those at the Pentagon. In addition, individuals who were engulfed in the dust cloud that day and family members of patients who have died are also eligible to apply for compensation. The compensation program will be valid for five years, which means all claims need to be filed by the year 2016.
Potential Mesothelioma Victims May Be At a Disadvantage
Benjamin Shein, the lead attorney of the Shein Law in Philadelphia applauds those lawmakers who were instrumental in fighting for this long awaited approval. Thousands of people will benefit from this new ruling. However, while many of the first responders and survivors of 9/11 will now be eligible for the health care that they need and deserve, potential mesothelioma patients may be at a great disadvantage.
Mesothelioma is a rare but highly aggressive type of cancer that is caused by an exposure to asbestos fibers through ingestion or inhalation. The disease often lies dormant in the body for many decades. Exposure to asbestos can take 20, 30 or more years before an individual is diagnosed with mesothelioma and shows symptoms. This is quite concerning. Many of the potential mesothelioma victims will be excluded from seeking compensation under this law due to the length of time between exposure and actual diagnosis. In order for these patients to receive compensation, the law will need to be revised or the deadline will need to be extended.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Help Victims Suffering From Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Cancers
The Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at the Shein Law focus their practice on helping mesothelioma victims and their families in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We have extensive experience in representing clients and families through the complex litigation process, protecting their rights and fighting for the compensation that is rightfully deserved. If you or someone you love have developed mesothelioma, lung cancer or any other asbestos related illness, you may be eligible for compensation. We encourage you to contact the experienced Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at 1-877-SheinLaw (1-877-743-4652) for a thorough review of your case or contact us online.