Asbestos is a hazardous substance and known carcinogen. Prior to 1989, however, asbestos’ health risks were relatively unknown, and it was commonly used in the construction of buildings as insulation and as a flame retardant. When workers broke ground on the original World Trade Center Complex in 1968, asbestos was used in the construction.
On September 11th, 2001, when two planes crashed into the North and South Towers with deadly force, toxic asbestos was released into the air, which remained for months in the Exposure Zone. First responders, clean-up crews, volunteers, and others who lived, worked, and studied were exposed to asbestos.
Years later, exposure to this dangerous substance has resulted in asbestosis and cancers such as mesothelioma. Anyone who was in the Exposure Zone and is suffering from mesothelioma, asbestosis, or other cancers, may be entitled to compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). If you were present on 9/11 and believe your health is suffering due to asbestos exposure, contact us today to discuss a 9/11 asbestos exposure claim.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the common name for six naturally-occurring minerals that can be used for commercial and industrial purposes. It is a highly versatile mineral for commercial use because it is resistant to chemicals, fire, and heat, and does not conduct electricity. Asbestos has a wide variety of uses, such as strengthening cement and soundproofing walls.
Once medical experts became aware of the risks inherent in everyday exposure to asbestos, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned new types of use of the material, and many industries searched for safer alternatives.
The Health Risks Associated with Asbestos Exposure
When items containing asbestos are moved or otherwise disturbed, they can release fine asbestos fibers into the air. If inhaled, the fibers may become trapped and remain in the lungs. Prolonged, repeated exposure to asbestos can result in the collection of more fibers in the body, which may cause inflammation. Asbestos-caused inflammation can trigger several health conditions, such as lung, larynx, and ovarian cancers, as well as asbestosis, a condition that can permanently damage the lungs.
Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure
Symptoms of asbestos exposure vary depending on what part of the body is affected. However, given asbestos’ proclivity to settle in the lungs, some common signs of exposure include:
- A dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- A crackling sound that accompanies breathing
Mesothelioma Medical Sources:
Asbestos Exposure Following the September 11th Terrorist Attacks
The official “Exposure Zone” (according to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund) for the New York City World Trade Center site encompasses all of Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway, north on East Broadway to Clinton Street, and east on Clinton Street to the East River.
Mesothelioma Risk From 9/11 Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is the primary trigger for a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma, which affects the chest and abdominal membranes. Mesothelioma can grow in a patient for 20 to 50 years before becoming symptomatic, at which point the cancer has usually spread widely to other parts of the body. Therefore, 9/11 survivors and responders remain at risk of contracting illnesses in the future.
Eligibility for Compensation
Those who meet certain eligibility requirements may obtain assistance from two federal programs—the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) provides medical care, and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) provides financial compensation.
The level of exposure required for eligibility depends on individual circumstances, including the victim’s location, nature of work, when they first arrived on site, and the duration of their presence.
- FDNY firefighters are at the greatest risk for developing illnesses as a result of toxic asbestos exposure. A 2011 study showed that firefighters who were engulfed in the dust cloud were 19 percent more likely to develop cancer than the general public.
- Paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and police officers comprise the second most vulnerable group.
- Volunteers, sanitation workers, and day laborers who worked in cleanup crews months after the towers fell have experienced a higher incidence of asbestos-related disease than the general population.
VCF Compensation Available For 9/11 Asbestos Exposure Claims
Anyone suffering from a 9/11 asbestos-related health condition may be entitled to compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The experienced 9/11 asbestos exposure attorneys at Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP will pursue the VCF asbestos exposure claim on the victim’s behalf, submitting medically-supported optional impact statements to maximize the compensation. Call Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP at 212-983-3000 for a free and confidential consultation today.