COUNCIL APPROVES RESOLUTION URGING RE-CONSIDERATION OF EVIDENCE LINKING EXPOSURE TO GROUND ZERO TOXINS AND CANCER
At its meeting on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, the Council passed a Resolution, supported by Council Member Oliver Koppell, calling upon Dr. John Howard, Administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program, to examine new evidence indicating a link between exposure to Ground Zero toxins and cancer and reconsider adding coverage for cancers under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (Zadroga Act).
The Zadroga Act provides for medical monitoring and treatment for damages to first responders, area residents, workers, students and others affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks who suffer from illnesses on the list of approved World Trade Center-related health conditions
Cancer is not currently on the list of World Trade Center-related health conditions. However, in its Resolution, the Council cited evidence that city employees and others who were exposed to, and inhaled, cancer-causing toxins because of their presence at the World Trade Center on 9/11 or shortly thereafter were more likely to develop cancer than individuals in the general population.
The Resolution referenced A Case Series on Multiple Myeloma in the World Trade Center Responders that confirmed at least 16 cases of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the white blood cells, out of approximately 28,000 responders. On average, fewer than 7 cases per year are expected for every 100,000 people in the U.S. In addition, an unusual number of responder cases, occurred under the age of 45.
There is also information from the NYPD that the common denominator in the array of cancers contracted by 263 police officers since the attacks was their work related to 9/11. Another recently published study conducted by the NYC Fire Department showed that male firefighters who worked at Ground Zero had an elevated risk of melanoma, thyroid and prostate cancers and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“It is now clear from numerous studies and reports that those individuals who worked and volunteered at Ground Zero in rescue, recovery and rebuilding efforts were exposed to a higher risk of cancer. However, at the present time, those who develop cancer are not entitled to compensation under the $2.7 billion James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. It is imperative, therefore, that Dr. Howard examine the new evidence and reconsider adding coverage for cancers under the Act”, Koppell said.