Lawmakers Want Compensation for 9/11 Cancer Victims

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Local lawmakers said federal overseers of the September 11 health program should add cancer to the list of illnesses that qualify people for victims compensation.

Congressional Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler and Peter King said new research in a prestigious medical journal now shows a strong connection.

A report in July said there’s not enough evidence linking cancer to World Trade Center dust. But, the co-authors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health Act believe the government should reverse the July ruling, based on the latest evidence.

But the reports in last week’s Lancet weren’t so clear-cut: one study found that firefighters who worked at Ground Zero were 19 percent more likely than other firefighters to get cancer — but only 10 percent more likely than the general population. And rates of lung cancer were actually lower than the general population.

Another study found that, overall, the death rate was lower among responders, residents and other groups exposed to 9/11 dust than the general New York City population. Researchers said that may be because this group was healthier to begin with than others local groups.


Under the federal Zadroga Act, responders, residents and other groups are automatically entitled to health coverage and treatment — but only for a range of ailments that includes respiratory diseases, acid reflux, certain muscular and physical problems and psychiatric conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. They potentially could also be treated for cancer, on a case-by-case basis, but their physicians need to specifically appeal for federal approval.