Fear of Lawsuits Causes Mayor Adams to Reject Calls for Release of NYC 9/11 Files

NYC Mayor Adams Rejects Calss to release 9-11 files

In the first, chaotic days following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, officials in New York City, New York state, and even the federal government struggled to deal with the devastation and the deaths of thousands—as well as the physical and emotional needs and well-being of survivors. Within a short period of time, there was evidence that the toxic fallout from the collapse of the Twin Towers was causing medical issues. And there was a likelihood that those issues would become worse.

As survivors grapple with diseases and conditions caused by the toxins in the dust that was both airborne and settled on indoor and outdoor surfaces in and around Ground Zero, the city continues to face lawsuits related to the handling of information regarding health effects.

New York City declines to make 9/11 Ground Zero documentation available

A recent news article reported that NYC Mayor Eric Adams responded to requests from Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) that the city release records regarding what officials knew about the effects of the attacks on New Yorkers’ health and safety. In his letter, Mayor Adams declined to release the reports “unless the lawmakers can come up with a way to cover costs and shield the city from getting sued.”

In the letter to Nadler and Goldman, Adams further stated that  the city “cannot produce documents without expensive and expansive legal review to identify privileged material and consider litigation risks. New York City must weigh the costs of such a review against the potential benefits, which are likely limited.”

Adams referred to the numerous studies that have been conducted regarding the health impacts of the WTC collapse and the toxins that were left in its wake. As the news article points out, “none of those studies had access to any of the information about then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s response to the crisis, and what the city actually knew about the dangers around Ground Zero, which federal officials falsely claimed to be safe at the time.”

More than two decades later, thousands suffer from the lingering health effects from 9/11

By 2017, more than 10,000 first responders and people who lived, worked, or were otherwise in or around the WTC on September 11 and the months that followed have been diagnosed with cancer, according to a report from Mt. Sinai Health System and the Icahn School of Medicine.

2,974 people died as a direct result of the attacks on 9/11. By the end of 2022, more than 4,300 first responders and other survivors have died as a result of their exposure to the toxic dust, fumes, and chemicals, according to the World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health Program).

While the two most common medical conditions associated with 9/11 include chronic rhinosinusitis (nasal inflammation) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), cancer rates continue to rise and are the third leading 9/11-related disease, and the cause for the greatest concern. Cancer latency means that different types of cancers can take years to develop. In fact, it can take decades following the exposure of cells to carcinogens to become cancer.

Here are just a few statistics regarding diseases linked to  9/11 exposure:

  • 35 percent of responders and nearly 21 percent of survivors suffer from chronic rhinosinusitis.
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common cancer suffered by 9/11 responders and survivors as of 2021.
  • Within 10 years of the attacks, there was an increase in leukemia, prostate, and thyroid cancer among first responders. One report shows “that 9/11 police officers and recovery workers face a 41% higher risk of leukemia and a 219% increased risk of thyroid cancer.”
  • Rates of asthma continued to increase among those exposed two to eight years after the attacks
  • Between two and 16 years following 9/11, there was evidence that WTC dust exposure was behind higher rates of cardiovascular disease. One article states that “high levels of exposure to the carcinogenic fumes have been directly linked to heart disease-related mortality.”
  • More recently, cancers with the highest latency rates, such as mesothelioma, have started to appear in 9/11 responders and survivors.

What did the Giuliani administration know about the toxins at Ground Zero?

A 2007 article states it bluntly: “Records show that the city was aware of the danger in Ground Zero dust from the start. In a federal court deposition, Kelly R. McKinney, associate commissioner at the city’s health department in 2001, said the agency issued an advisory on the night of Sept. 11 stating that asbestos in the air made the site hazardous…”

Asbestos. Dioxin. Heavy metals such as lead and mercury. All of these are known carcinogens. 25 percent of the dust collected and analyzed by the EPA in the few weeks following the attacks showed levels of asbestos that “indicated significant risk.” Moreover, the levels of dioxin in the air were “the highest ambient measurements of dioxin ever recorded anywhere in the world.” The Giuliani administration publicly stated that the air was safe to breathe. It appears that they knew what the potential immediate and long-term health risks as early as late September or early October of 2001, yet intentionally failed to disclose that information.

If you have a 9/11-related medical condition, you have rights

Whether you are a responder, volunteer, or a survivor who lived, worked, or were in the New York City Exposure Zone and you have 9/11 disease, you may have the right to medical benefits and compensation. To discuss your concerns and your situation, please contact us online or call our office at 332-239-1952 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced VCF benefits attorneys.

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