The number of Ground Zero responders who are now afflicted with 9/11-linked cancers has hit a staggering 3,700.
Because of the exposure to toxins in the dust from the collapsed towers at the site of the attacks, there have been severe health effects arising from the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. The most common of these is respiratory problems, but responders and survivors are also at excess risk of developing cancer.
The astounding tally of those suffering cancers certified as 9/11-related includes fire department (FDNY) members (1,100), police and other Ground Zero responders (2,134), and survivors such as downtown workers and residents (467). Sadly, many of these have more than one type of cancer.
The FDNY’s chief medical officer, Dr. David Prezant, said over 2,100 firefighters and EMS personnel have retired on disability with World Trade Center-related illnesses, mostly lung disease and cancer, since 9/11.
In a statement, Prezant said:
Due to the physical nature of their jobs, these illnesses have had a tremendous impact on our membership and their families.
That includes 109 FDNY responders who have died from WTC-linked illnesses, 44 of them from cancer.
Research has found thyroid, colon, prostate and blood cancers more prevalent among FDNY members who served at Ground Zero than those who did not.
FDNY Deputy Chief Thomas Riley, 58, is one of many affected and will be forced to retire after he came down with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood cancer which then formed a tumor behind his right eye.
Riley and other responders lobbied Congress last month to urge an extension of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which ensures medical treatment for Ground Zero responders and others who were exposed to the toxic dust and smoke in 2001.