9/11 Victims Suffering from Toxins in the Air

911 Victims Suffering from Toxins in the Air Should Contact Weisefuse & Weisfuse

The 9/11 toxins from the attacks in downtown New York, The Pentagon and Shanksville, PA lingered or many months after September 11th.

Those in the exposure zones breathed in a wide variety of 9/11 toxins from the huge dust clouds, ash, and debris — over 70 known carcinogens have been formally identified. People inhaled particles and substances known to be harmful to human health for months afterward despite being told that the air was safe.

Responders and survivors who have suffered or are suffering the effects of breathing in toxins have several avenues open to them for medical care and financial compensation to help ease their situations.

Victims should familiarize themselves with the types of contaminants they may have been exposed to — and the potential remedies available. Assistance can be provided for cancers and many respiratory diseases even if the symptoms are only showing now, more than 20 years after the attacks.

Contaminants inhaled from the 9/11 toxic cloud

Those who spent time in the exposure zones in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks breathed in a potent toxic cocktail for days or months afterward.

This includes the heroic responders and volunteer workers who rushed to Ground Zero to help but also the good residents and workers of New York who were asked to return to Lower Manhattan and resume “life as normal” in the days following the attacks.

Residents, office workers, students and teachers helped show the world what New Yorkers are made of. Sadly, many are now paying the price for the toxic haze they inhaled during that time.

Here’s a breakdown of the main components of the toxic load that people in Lower Manhattan were exposed to:

  • Jet fuel
  • Cement dust and other pulverized building materials
  • Asbestos
  • Dioxin
  • Gypsum and calcite
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Microscopic shards of glass
  • Silica
  • Heavy metals
  • Numerous organic compounds

Normally, when people dispose of computers and electric equipment, they must do so responsibly because of the toxic components they contain. During 9/11, these and many other items were pulverized and “cooked” together with building equipment and released in massive clouds into the air, taking weeks to settle and polluting the air with their contaminants. The air was unsafe to breathe but people breathed it anyway.

Since those harrowing days after September 2001, over 2,000 people who were exposed to the chemicals have had their deaths linked to cancers resulting directly from the contact.

The number of cancer victims in total is seven or eight times that number. Nobody will know whether their diseases were linked to the toxic air. However, almost 70 types of cancer have so far been included on the compensable illness list for 9/11 victims, according to the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).

As people age and become more vulnerable to serious health issues, such as cancer and respiratory diseases, the number of WTC-related illnesses is likely to increase dramatically.

Rights to free health care and compensation

Two main government programs provide relief for victims of 9/11 toxicity:

  1. The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) provides free nationwide medical care to those with WTC-linked conditions, including free medical monitoring (for responders), as well as treatment and medication for physical and psychological illnesses.
  2. The Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is a government fund that provides monetary compensation and other benefits to victims.

These programs are available to any responder or survivor of the attacks who was exposed to the 9/11 toxins or in the eight months that followed.

Extended deadlines to register for compensation

The first step in claiming medical assistance and compensation for a 9/11-related condition is to register with the WTCHP. This will essentially verify that the condition is, indeed, related to the 9/11 exposure zone.

From the date that a condition is certified as 9/11-related by the WTCHP (or other government agency) and the victim is made aware of this, a two-year deadline applies for registering a compensation claim with the VCF.

If a victim has already died from a WTC-linked condition, the family can register for the VCF within two years of the date of death.

The fund is worth $10 billion and significant sums have already been paid out to victims of cancers, respiratory conditions, and other health issues.

Furthermore, the deadline to file a VCF claim for compensation for responders and survivors was extended until October 1, 2090. This extension is designed to cover young survivors of the 9/11 attacks for life.

9/11 survivor eligibility for medical assistance and compensation

To obtain medical benefits under the WTCHP and compensation from the VCF, victims must be able to prove that they were in the exposure zone in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, which directly led to a condition that is covered by the programs.

Individuals must have been physically present at a 9/11 crash site Ground Zero, The Pentagon, or Shanksville, PA or within the NYC exposure area.

What is the WTCHP exposure zone?

The WTCHP zone is different for responders and survivors.

Responders in NYC must have been present for a certain number of hours below Canal Street. They are entitled to an annual checkup and medical monitoring even if they have no 9/11-related conditions.

For survivors in NYC, the exposure area zone spans from the area of Manhattan that encompasses Houston Street to the southern tip of Manhattan, including a 1.5-mile radius from Ground Zero into parts of Brooklyn. To be eligible for benefits, survivors must have symptoms of at least one covered condition.

The VCF describes the exposure zone for 9/11 toxins even more specifically: it is the area in Manhattan south of the line that runs along 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.

9-11 NYC Exposure Zone Map

Additionally, anyone exposed to toxins at the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, the New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, or other areas along routes of debris removal may be eligible for assistance.

For anyone in doubt whether or not they were in the exposure zone, a 9/11 victims’ lawyer can help assess eligibility and file a claim for those entitled to VCF compensation.

To discuss your situation and learn more about how we may be able to help you, please call Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP at 332-239-2238 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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