Cancer-stricken Ground Zero responders, residents won't benefit from Zadroga 9/11 health lawBy Alison Gendar
July 26, 2011
WASHINGTON - Cancer-stricken Ground Zero responders and residents won't be able to benefit from the new Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation law.
The doctor overseeing the program says there is not enough scientific evidence at this point to add cancers to the list of diseases covered by the $2.7 billion law signed late last year by President Obama.
Dr. John Howard found "insufficient evidence exists at this time to propose a rule to add cancer," a report released Tuesday by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said.
"I am disappointed, but I am confident that the next review will show what we know is the case, that people are sick and dying from cancer that was caused by their time at Ground Zero," said John Feal, a 9/11 advocate.
"Fifty-one of the 53 funerals I have been to were cancer. I don't care how many years of college you have, I will argue with you the reality is people are dying from cancer and they got it from breathing the air down there," Feal said.
"The studies that are in the works now, will show that. It's just hard to tell sick people who have been waiting 10 years to be patient some more."
Some 60,000 people are being monitored by existing 9/11 health programs - including 20,000 who have had some kind of medical procedure related to the terror attacks.
Howard is requited by law to review the scientific evidence again next year to determine if cancers should be added.
By then, several scientific studies are expected to be published about links between certain blood cancers and exposure to Ground Zero toxins, advocates said.
"Thankfully, we know that today's announcement is not the last word on the inclusion of cancer in the program," New York Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Peter King said in a statement.
"The collapse of the Trade Center towers released a cloud of poisons, including carcinogens, throughout lower Manhattan and we fully expect that cancers will be covered under our legislation."