After an 11-year battle, the federal government is now poised to recognize that
people who lived near Ground Zero — as well as Firefighters and other rescue
and recovery workers who sifted through the toxic rubble there — got cancer as
a result, according a report in the NY Post today.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health — which is
responsible for deciding whether cancer should be among the illnesses covered
by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act — is expected to announce
the findings as early as tomorrow.
Michael Barasch and Noah Kushlefsky, two lawyers who represent thousands of
first responders and residents, said legislative aides involved in drafting the
new regulations and Victim Compensation Fund staffers told them that about 50
cancers would be included.
“There’s new scientific evidence,” Barasch said, “that dust is what is now
linked to not only the respiratory illnesses, but all these cancers.”
The new regulations would at last allow cancer victims to be compensated.
“It’s a bittersweet thing,” said John Walcott, an NYPD detective who was
diagnosed with leukemia in 2003 after working months at Ground Zero and the
Fresh Kills landfill. “It took 11 years to do what should have been done a long
The Zadroga Act — which was passed into law two years ago and named after NYPD
Detective James Zadroga, who perished at age 34 after working on the World
Trade Center pile — originally did not cover cancer because of a lack of
scientific evidence linking it to Ground Zero toxins, despite outcries from
hundreds of sick responders.
Under one component of the law, about 40,000 responders and residents already
get monitoring, and 20,000 receive medical treatment. The second part — the
Victim Compensation Fund — is being held up by the cancer issue.
About 400 have died from cancer since 9/11, according to the most recent
With the inclusion of cancer in the program, there will be more victims seeking
compensation — and a reduction in individual awards as officials slice up the
$2.77 billion fund.
“They’re going to add cancers, but are they going to add more money to the
fund?” said Thomas “T.J.” Gilmartin, a smoker who suffers from lung disease and
sleep apnea. “It’s crazy. Every time, we gotta fight. It’s two years since
Obama signed that bill and nobody’s got 10 cents.”
For some — those hanging onto their lives by a thread — the payout will
ultimately be too little, too late.
“There are other people who are sick and dying. They’re not going to last as
long as it takes for them to get paid,” Kushlefsky said.
“Congress should turn around and fund this for as long as it’s needed.”
The Victim Compensation Fund’s special master, Sheila Birnbaum, will be
permitted to spend only $875 million of the fund’s total in the first five
years after the initial payments begin. After those five years pass, people
with valid claims will begin to receive their remaining portion of the
additional $1.9 billion.
Birnbaum said she doesn’t expect more money to flow into the fund, but thinks
NIOSH will make an announcement on the cancers this week.
“They hinted that it would be before Sept. 11,” she said.
FDNY's PADDY BROWN:
we all prepare for 9/11/12....please take a moment to read this excellent piece
about an FDNY hero, who always aggressively downplayed that "label"
UPDATE FROM TULSA
One of 3 Firefighters who remained in a hospital after being injured in a fire
at the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences has been released.
Two other firefighters remain hospitalized but are listed in good condition and
their status will be re-evaluated Monday.
A total of 8 Firefighters suffered various burn-related injuries caused by
explosions during Wednesday’s fire. 6 of those firefighters were released from
the hospital the same day, but one of them returned to the hospital that night
after complications arose.
Take Care-BE CAREFUL.
The Secret List
10-9-12 / 0909 hours www.FireFighterCloseCalls.com