9/11 First Responders - The Dust at Ground Zero

Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

5:29 PM - May 24, 2010 #1


Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

4:56 AM - May 25, 2010 #2

James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009

John Feal Monday May 23 2010 - D.C. I am coming tomorrow with 16 heavy hitting no games playing dedicated loyal 9/11 heroes,who carry the memories of Johnny Mac,Brian McCauley,Greg Quibell, and the hundreds who passed and thousands who are gravely ill in their hearts. You will FEAL our wrath and you will pass HR847.


Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

4:59 AM - May 25, 2010 #3

From Carmen Taylor:
wrote:Jeff…I just looked at the 60 Minute program you posted. About time, wouldn’t you say.

The link I’ve included below is excellent. Allan Tannenbaum has personally advocated for recognition and of this horrible problem and for help for those suffering. His efforts have gone far beyond those of a gifted photojournalist and compassionate human. His work is valuable, and I would think our group will appreciate seeing what he has done.

Would you please see that this information, ie, link to his website, is posted correctly so that your readers can easily click on to it.

I’m so glad you posted the 60 Minute program. Thank you.



PS I have mentioned Allan previously, but I think this is a very appropriate time to bring his site up again.

Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

5:07 AM - May 25, 2010 #4


On September 11, 2001, Arab Islamist terrorists hijacked airplanes and crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, causing the buildings to collapse. Although almost 3,000 people died on that terrible day, many first responders, recovery workers, and area residents have been getting very sick and even dying because of all of the toxic substances released into the environment. Sadly, quite a few of those once hailed as heroes are finding that government agencies are now ignoring them. They are the hidden victims of 9/11 and this is their story.

http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/20 ... esponders/

TIME Magazine has published part of this project online as a multimedia presentation with audio excerpts from the interviews by Allan Tannenbaum. Click on the TIME logo to view it.

"You could not comprehend the massive destruction. Even though there was an enormous amount of toxic debris and smoke, your skin was on fire you couldn’t breathe, your eyes were tearing, you just kept going on and on. You didn’t care - you just wanted to find somebody. Now my whole life basically transformed from a healthy man to an old man. I loved EMS. It’s all gone now - I’m reduced to nothing"

Former EMS Paramedic Freddie Noboa getting examined by Dr. Wajdy Hailoo at the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program in Flushing. Freddie suffers from asthma, GERD, PTSD, high blood pressure and many other ailments as a result of his toxic exposures at Ground Zero that necessitate his taking 23 different medications. Queens, NY, December 10, 2008.

"I kept the toilets clean at Ground Zero until November 2002, when, all of a sudden, I had a pain in my left hand. It was a sarcoma. They reconstructed my hand, but the next year it came back as another sarcoma in my elbow. I had more surgery and radiation. In 2005 they went into my lungs to remove all the nodules. They discovered I had asthma and another lung disease. I still receive chemotherapy every two weeks."

Jevon Thomas delivered and serviced the portable toilets used by rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero for over a year. As a result of his toxic exposures, he has developed sarcomas in his hand and arm requiring surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, as well as nodules in his lungs. Mr. Thomas urges Congress to pass the James Zadroga bill which will provide medical help to ailing first responders, recovery workers, and downtown residents.

"We found 150 full bodies and 20,000 body parts. It was like being in hell down there - arms, legs, people cut in half - a gruesome job. There were guys down there that were spitting up blood. And now many, many people are sick It’s a sad state of affairs that everybody’s sick now. I always have my inhaler with me. I never know when I’m not gonna get my next breath. I’m just glad to be alive"

Former FDNY Deputy Chief Jim Riches lost his oldest son, FDNY firefighter Jimmy Riches, on 9/11. He worked on the pile and found Jimmy's body on March, 25th, 2002. Soon Chief Riches fell ill and wound up in a coma. His lung capacity is reduced by 30% and he had to retire. New York, NY, July 27, 2008.

"My health has been steadily spiraling downward. I've been hospitalized 15 times. Doctors have told me that I’m lucky if I live to the age of 50. I re-live 9/11 every day. There’s not a day that goes by that don’t I think about my first patient who died, the girl with the burnt face, the guy who jumped 100 stories to his death. We gave our hearts and our souls on 9/11 and we’d do it again in a heartbeat."

Former EMT Charles Giles resonded on 9/11 and was injured when the towers collapsed. He went back to work on the pile for a long time and now suffers from a many ailments and must take 24 different medications. Here he demonstrates the device he must sleep with to prevent sleep apnia. Barnegat, NJ, July 20, 2008.

"He cut the bad piece of my liver, out resected my colon, took a piece of my stomach out because the tumor pushed into it, took my lymph nodes and a gall bladder, and installed a pump for my liver. I’ve had radiation, chemotherapy. I have nodules in my lungs now that weren’t there. Biggest one is less than a centimeter. My doctor said it was one of the most aggressive tumors that he’s ever seen in a colon. My oncologist is a firm believer in that what I have is from the Trade Center."

Firefighter John McNamara, at home in Long Island, is fighting colon cancer after 9/11 and Ground Zero toxic exposures. He arrived at Ground Zero on 9/11 and worked there until March 2002. He's had four surgeries for cancer and is facing more. At home in Blue Point, New York, June 17th, 2008. Click image above for more photos.

"On 9/11 I thought, 'This is World War Three - this is it.' It was like a living hell to walk into that. I got sick to my stomach - some of the body bags looked like spam inside. It was horrible. I cried. I have no regrets of being there. If I recovered 100% from this and it happened again, I'd go right back. That's what I hate about the whole thing - it just stopped my whole life."

New York State Corrections Officer Greg Quibell, 53, at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, April 2, 2007. He worked at Ground Zero from September 12, 2001 until Thanksgiving 2001, and has endured four rounds of chemotherapy to combat leukemia. Greg died on August 27, 2008.

"I know I can honestly say that my father is the greatest man I’ve ever known. I have so much respect for him. So much faith in him and he’s taught me so much. Two things he told me have been ringing in my mind since he’s been here. “Nothing in life is ever easy and there’s no such thing as quitting. Never give up.” - Son Ceasar Borja Jr., age 21

Retired NYPD Officer Cesar Borja, dying from pulmonary fibrosis, is comforted by his wife Eva at Mt. Sinai Hospital, 1/20/2007. He died three days later, before he could get a lung transplant. For more images of Cesar Borja in the hospital, click the photo above. For images of Ceasar Borja Jr. at the 9/11 Health Rally at Ground Zero, please click here. http://www.fotomundo.net/Galleries/HRC_WTC/index.htm

"I'd like my wife to be remembered as a person who wasn't afraid to do her job, and her most important thing was the kids. Really, everything she did was for our two kids. When it came time to do her job she did her job, no questions asked. She was a very good mother, a good wife, and an excellent paramedic." - Husband David Reeve, FDNY Paramedic

The wake for FDNY Paramedic Deborah Reeve, who died of cancer from working at Ground Zero after 9/11. The Bronx, New York, 3/19/2006.


Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

5:15 AM - May 25, 2010 #5

"I honestly believe that the number people who died on 9/11 will be far eclipsed by the number of people who will die directly because of their exposure at Ground Zero."

Volunteer firefighter Vincent Forras worked on the pile for three weeks, becoming sick right away. At home in Ridgefield, CT, 4/17/2006

"This wall of black and gray swept over us. A shock wave actually knocked me backwards about 10 feet and I landed on my back. I lost my wind. I was in the middle of a cloud at that point. Everything was black. The unimaginable had just happened."

NYPD Patrolman Chris Baumann was injured on 9/11 and had to retire on disability due to many injuries and illnesses. At home in Lindenhurst, NY, 5/26/2006

"They've left us in the dust because it's about money. Had they given us treatment from the get-go, a great majority of people would not be dying a painful, painful slow death. We're walking time-bombs - our time is limited. And 9/11 and the exposure to toxins and not getting treated in time have shortened our lives."

EMT Bonnie Jean Giebfried, with her 9/11 uniform, can no longer work. At home in Oceanside, NY, 5/15/2006

"Christie Todd Whitman lied to the men and woman on that pile and said the air was safe to go back to work because of economics - because they wanted to open Wall Street. Men and woman who risked their lives without questions are now getting sicker and dying. We were given a death sentence – we just don’t know when we’re going to die.”

Demolition supervisor turned advocate John Feal lost half a foot in an accident at Ground Zero. At home in Nesconset, NY, 5/15/2006

"Most of America wants to just forget about 9/11. And you know what America? So help me God I don't blame ya. But just understand - there's people like us out there who can't forget. We can't go on with our lives. Our lives will never be the same. We can't heal, America. There's a lot of who can't get back to where we were."

Iron-worker John Sferazo now must take over 20 prescription medicines due to his work at Ground Zero. At home in Manhasset, NY, 5/15/2006

"They're turning their backs on us. They don't want to know us. In the very beginning it was, 'You guys are our heroes', and now they want us swept under the carpet."

Volunteer Fire Chief Thomas Harrigan, in the hospital with heart and other problems, volunteered at Ground Zero. Miami, FL, 5/4/2006

"What people must remember about 9/11 is that the cops, firemen, EMTs, all had very physical jobs. These were healthy people who had these jobs. We had to pass a physical every year. The question now becomes, if all these people were healthy, why are they all sick now? You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. What is the common denominator? 9/11 - Ground Zero."

NYC Paramedic Marvin Bethea with the medicines he now must take after getting buried in debris twice on 9/11. At home in Queens, NY, 5/30/2006

"9/11 was something we didn't expect. It was an attack on our city. Even though I became ill, because I love being a police officer and a detective, it brought me such joy and happiness and accomplishment, to just help people. If I had to do it again, I would do it again, because that's how our police officers are. That's our job - we had to help the families bring closure, to find a loved one."

NYPD Detective Belinda Shaw had to retire from the illnesses she acquired at Fresh Kills landfill and the morgue. At home in Queens, NY, 6/13/2006

"The conditions at 130 Liberty were very bad. I was in the basement. Everything was damaged; there were spoiled food, dead rats, fungus on the walls, contaminated water on the floor. They had me putting papers in a machine and right there I started to feel bad and I couldn't come back to work."

Mercedes Burgos worked as a cleaner after 9/11 in buildings around Ground Zero including the Deutsche Bank Building. She is now homebound except for visits to the doctor. At home in New York, NY, 5/23/2006.

"I noticed a large swatch of red cloth under a large beam. My immediate thought was that this was a woman victim. We started digging like mad. Soon I realized that it was an American flag that I had found. The flag was identified by the Port Authority as the flag which was flying atop the towers as they were attacked and destroyed."

Former Air National Guardsman Mike McCormack lost his original Workers' Comp claim because he volunteered at Ground Zero, where he found the WTC American Flag. After a hearing in Happaugue, NY, 6/9/2006.

"I'm half the man I used to be - I have to take it slow. A lot of people look at what I'm doing and say that I'm doing fine - they don't see me sucking wind after climbing up and down the ladder. I was a soccer player and a gymnast and used to run long distance - I can't do any of that now. I gotta take rest and take breaks and take my medicine."

FDNY Firefighter Tim Duffy arrived at the WTC after the first tower collapse on his Harley-Davidson. He got buried and can no longer work as a firefighter. Building a timber-frame house in Englishtown, NJ, 6/11/2006

"I think that the attack of 9/11 hasn't seen the last of its victims, not even remotely. There's going to be victims for many years to come, unfortunately. I just hope that the government would decide to look into this and maybe give back the money that they've taken from New York City and start looking into some respiratory health for everyone. Right now there's at least some for adults. There's nothing for children. We all need to be checked."

Residents of Lower Manhattan, like Mariama James and her family, have long-term health problems such as asthma from breathing the toxic dust and fumes after 9/11. At home in New York, NY, 6/13/2006.



Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

5:23 AM - May 25, 2010 #6

"When we first got there it was actually like working inside of a volcano - it was extremely hot. We were digging by hand. There was this orange-yellowish smoke coming out. Our skin was turning maroon. We were hoping to find someone alive but it was just bodies. I knew my brother Gary had a skin graft on his heel. I removed firefighters' socks and boots trying to find him. It was horrible from day one to the very end - it was a nightmare."

Former FDNY Firefighter Ralph Geidel worked on The Pile for 230 days after 9/11 searching for the remains of his brother, Firefighter Gary Geidel of Rescue 1, who died on 9/11. Ralph, who had a radical neck dissection to remove cancerous lymph nodes and a carcinoma from his tongue, wants the search for remains to continue at the Deutsche Bank Building, shown here behind him, before it is torn down. Ground Zero, July 24, 2006.

"I want James to be remembered as a hero that he was. I'd like them to recognize him as a line of duty death so he gets the respect that I think he deserves. The same thing for the other guys - they all deserve that. They never even recognized these guys' heroism. They didn't even recognize what they did for the city and the country. To me that's outrageous. They didn't appreciate what everybody did, that's for sure." Joseph Zadroga, father of NYPD Detective James Zadroga

Jospeh Zadroga, father of NYPD Detective James Zadroga whose death was linked directly to 9/11 exposure, holds his son's daughter Tyler Ann at a rally at Ground Zero for responders and recovery workers, as his wife Linda tries to contain her emotions. New York City, 6/17/2006.
http://www.fotomundo.net/Galleries/9-11 ... _Rally_GZ/

"The dust was outstanding - I never smelled or tasted anything like this in my whole life - it was horrible. Orders were given to not hose down debris at the risk of destroying evidence. It got much worse, because now there was no water to hold down some of this dust. It was all over the place - It blew all over. The boats were totally filthy black, us guys were filthy. Our nose, our ears, our hair, everything about us was covered in this dust."

Former NYC Sanitation boat driver Jack Saltarella was exposed to barge loads of Ground Zero debris at Fresh Kills for 10 months and had to retire. Jack uses an inhaler to breathe at his home in New Paltz, NY, 6/27/2006.

"I knew my apartment would be trashed. It was covered with dust and it was hard to breathe. I started feeling that my throat was raw, I started coughing like I had been smoking cigarettes for half my life, and I got a rash on my hands and face. I got excruciating headaches. I felt horrible – walking up and down stairs was painful. I had the dust tested and the results came back with 1.4 to 2.1% asbestos - higher than EPA regulations requiring a cleanup."

Downtown resident Kelly Coangelo suffered amny health effects from the contamination of her Financial District apartment after the collapse of the twin towers. Kelly holds bags containing dust and air conditioner filter material taken from her old apartment. In her new apartment over looking Ground Zero, New York, NY 7/28/2006

"I have trouble breathing and burning in my nose and throat, migraine-like headaches, severe nausea, burning joint and muscle pain, great difficulty sleeping and eating, and worst of all, my cognitive capabilities are affected. Before, I was a programmer , technical manager, and business person, very active, organized, and productive. Now, I have trouble walking across a room. It's tough to put two thoughts together, to try to remember anything - thinking is physically painful now."

Jenn Duncan, suffering from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity from a workplace accident, found her condition worsening to the point of being completely apartment-bound after exposures to the toxic clouds of 9/11 drifting over Brooklyn. At home in Brooklyn, NY, 8/1/2006.

"I've tried to go back to work but I've been discharged. I don't have the stamina any more from this 9/11 stress that I'm going through and the physical disabilities.Financially I am destitute, mentally I am destroyed, and physically I am inept. I'm tired of living in my trailer and of not being able to perform work. I need to exist. Scraping by is not existing."

Frank Silecchia, the construction worker who found the steel cross at Ground Zero after the terror attacks of 9/11, in front of the RV in which he lives. Brooklyn, NY, 10/19/2006.

"My doctor said 'You got leukemia, you got a week to live, get to the hospital.' My form of leukemia is a toxin form, not a hereditary cancer - caused by exposure to benzene which is in jet fuel."

"My diagnosis was IgA nethropathy. The filters in my kidneys are shutting down. It’s causing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high levels of uric acid so I get gout very often which is probably the most painful thing I ever felt in my life."

Former NYPD Detectives John Walcott and Rich Volpe in the office of their attorney, David Worby. Walcott, battling leukemia, and Volpe, fighting kidney disease, are part of the class action lawsuit against New York City and its contractors, claiming that they failed to protect workers from cancer-causing benzene and other hazardous chemicals.

"Anecdotal evidence of rescue workers at Ground Zero getting similar kinds of cancer made me think that my Hodgkin’s Disease might be related to 9/11. I think getting sick opened my eyes to potential health problems and trying to make sure that everyone who was exposed to all this toxic debris after 9/11 is going to have the means for health screening and treatment for their 9/11-related illnesses."

Stuyvesant High School Graduate Amit Friedlander was in class just a few blocks from the World Trade Center on 9/11. He experienced the debris cloud and was in school during the debris transfer operation at Pier 25 next to the school. Amit has battled Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system, and has graduated from college.

"We were in the pile. You could smell death. Everything was burning still. It was like war. It went from a nice sunny day to total devastation. For me it will always be September 111th. I could have chosen to run over that bridge but I wanted to help. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I would go with my oxygen tank."

Vito Valenti was a union official who volunteered in the rescue and recovery on September 11 and 12, 2001. He now suffers from pulmonary fibrosis and is awaiting a double lung transplant. Vito is active in lobbying politicians and works helping others through the Fealgood Foundation.

"After 9/11, I was unable to get assistance because I had no income and no insurance. In Cuba, nine specialists treated me and I was given tests and medications which were inaccessible to me in the US. The doctors treated my asthma, bronchitis, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, sinusitis, rhinitis, vocal cords lumps, enlarged liver, RADS, chronic acid reflux, and PTSD."

"While volunteering at Ground Zero, I fell off an ATV and worsened a pre-existing spinal injury. None of the specialists in NJ were in my network, so I couldn't get treated. In Cuba, they took a battery of tests and came up with the diagnosis that I needed surgery. They also replaced my teeth which I had ground down due to PTSD."

Former EMT Reggie Cervantes and former Volunteer Firefighter William Maher, ill with respiratory problems and PTSD from Ground Zero toxic exposures, in front of City Hall in Manhattan. They went to Cuba with director Michael Moore for his film "Sicko", about the health care system in the United States.

"I just thought that if it was that bad they would have shut us down. No way our government, which just suffered the worst terrorist attack in the country, would open the first responders up to something like that. If it was that bad, they wouldn’t have sent us there. I wasn’t really thinking about the toxins. One of the reasons I kept going was because Christie Todd Whitman said that the air was safe to breathe."

NYPD Officer Reggie Hillaire, here in an examination room at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, has cancer related to post 9/11 toxic exposures. Officer Hillaire had his thyroid removed due to thyroid cancer and now has multiple myeloma.

"On 9/11 I was transporting injured people to the hospital all day. After that, I stayed at Ground Zero and wrapped body parts like heads, torsos, legs, and arms. I didn't realize that I was inhaling all these toxins into my body. They didn't give us respirators and on September 24th I started to get sick but I stayed until October 2nd and went right to the hospital."

Former St. Vincent's AIDS Researcher Mary Elizabeth Bishop, who worked wrapping body parts at Ground Zero, and suffering from 9/11-related chronic lung infections, digestive problems, irregular heartbeat, and skin cancer on her face, arrives for the hearing supported by her daughter Natasha and her attorney Jay Mac Burnes.

"When we heard Christie Todd Whitman get on TV and say that the air quality was safe we were horrified because we already knew that there were people being exposed to high burdens of irritants down there and that people were already suffering respiratory problems, so we knew that it couldn't possibly be safe. It had terrible consequences."

Dr. Stephen Levin, Medical Director Mt. Sinai Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, is one of the directors of the WTC Screening and Monitoring Program, which has seen over 16,000 first responders and recovery workers. At Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York, NY, 6/14/2006.

"It's utterly false then for EPA critics to assert that I or others at the agency set about to mislead New Yorkers and rescue workers. Every statement I made was based on what experts, who had a great deal of experience in these things, conveyed to me."

Christie Todd Whitman, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, testified before Congress June 26, 2007, confronting critics who assert that health risks in Lower Manhattan were deliberately downplayed in the days immediately following the 9/11 attacks.

As former EPA administrator Christie Todd Whitman and former OSHA administrator John Henshaw testify before Congressman Jerrold Nadler's first comprehensive hearing on Federal environmental response at the WTC site after 9/11, demonstrators hold a rally outside the building where the hearing was taking place.

Flor Duque: "My boss sold us the masks for $25 each. I bought one, because after two months I was already feeling sick. I’m working now because I don’t have a choice. I am not well enough to work, but I am working as much as I can.”

Flor Duque, who did clean-up work in Trinity Church among other locations, and her sister Blanca Neri Duque Castaño, who also worked as a cleaner, have trouble breathing, chronic headaches and stomach pain.

“It's a terrible situation. Everyone I know who did this work is sick. Everyone I know has to take medicine.”

Lucelly Gil, a Colombian immigrant, worked 12- and 14-hour shifts for $60 a day, sweeping away heaps of dust by hand in apartments, offices, restaurants and schools, protected by nothing more than a thin paper mask. Six years later, she has asthma, chronic pain in her nose, ears, head and chest, and painfully itchy skin.

Former St. Vincent's AIDS Researcher Mary Elizabeth Bishop, who worked wrapping body parts at Ground Zero, and suffering from 9/11-related chronic lung infections, digestive problems, irregular heartbeat, and skin cancer on her face, with her medications at the home of a relative with whom she is staying after selling her house.

Over one hundred 9/11 Responders and their families rallied at the U.S. Capitol on February 26, 2008 to protest the 77% budget cuts in 9/11 Healthcare funding for fiscal 2009, plus the canceling of plans for the World Trade Center Business Process Center, which would have provided monitoring and treatment for the 10,000-plus Responders who reside outside the New York area. Organized by the Fealgood Foundation and 9/11 Health Now, Congress Members Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Dennis Kucinich spoke. Click on image above for web photo gallery.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/200 ... ideosearch


Joined: 3:33 AM - Apr 29, 2009

5:25 AM - May 25, 2010 #7

Thank you, Jeff. tgc c

Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

5:32 AM - May 25, 2010 #8

Thanks for reminding me about this ;)


Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

2:17 PM - May 27, 2010 #9

Here is all the information on bill HR847. The amendments and how they voted and the final vote of 33-12 and who voted for and against 9/11 heroes.

http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.p ... mid=85#847

Local pols push 9/11 health care bill through committee
Volume 23, Number 3 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 28 - June 3, 2010
BY Meghan Neal

U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney and Jerry Nadler gathered with 9/11 first responders at Ground Zero last Sunday. Photo courtesy of US Rep. Maloney’s office

U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney and Jerry Nadler paid a visit to ground zero on Sunday to highlight a 9/11 health care bill that has been dragging through Congress for nearly nine years. The bill cleared a huge hurdle on Tuesday when it passed its final committee vote, sending it to the house floor.

“It’s a difficult bill, a complicated bill, a costly bill,” said Maloney. The legislation would provide $11 billion in federal funds toward health care and compensation for first responders and survivors who are sick as a result of toxins left in the air after the 9/11 attacks.

Maloney and Nadler were joined by a group of the bill’s supporters: police, firefighters, 9/11 first responders currently suffering from health problems, members of the New York delegation and Lower Manhattan residents.

“Every day another floor, another piece of steel goes into reconstructing ground zero, and yet we still haven’t found a way to provide health care,” Rep. Anthony Weiner said at the event. “We’ve waited far, far too long.”

Now the bill is one step closer to becoming law. Having passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday, it will be sent to the floor of congress for a vote, possibly as early as next month. Meanwhile, the Senate HELP committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) has a hearing scheduled for July.

Thousands of rescue workers that responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as well as local residents, office workers and school children, continue to suffer significant medical problems, the bill states.

Nadler was quick to point out that at least 10,000 rescue workers who traveled from all around the country after the attacks were also affected. One of the major reasons for opposition to the bill is that it would delegate a substantial amount of federal funds solely to New York.

“People from 431 of 435 congressional districts came to help,” Nadler said. “It’s not just a New York issue. New York was not attacked; the United States was attacked.”

The bill’s supporters pointed fingers at the federal government, saying it claimed the air was safe for residents to return to New York when in fact it was not.

By quickly returning to town and starting to rebuild, it meant the terrorists did not win, said Catherine Hughes, co-chair of Manhattan Community Board 1. Now many who lived, worked and went to school in the area are sick, with more becoming sick every day.

A representative of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association sited a New England Journal of Medicine article statistic that firefighters at the scene lost 12 years of lung capacity in the blink of an eye.

Several first responders present expressed concern that if, and when, another attack occurred, people might think twice before responding due to the potential health consequences.

The bill sites studies and medical monitoring programs that show increased health problems and worsened symptoms over the years. This includes respiratory issues, mental health conditions, low pregnancy rates and birth defects.

The bill is named the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, after the first NYPD officer whose death, of respiratory problems, was sited as a direct cause of toxins at the site of the attack.

The 9/11 Health and Compensation Act has two main components. One, it continues comprehensive health care and expands federal programs to monitor those exposed to toxins and treat those already diagnosed with illness or injury.

Two, it re-opens the Victim Compensation Fund, which enables families of victims to recoup financial losses caused by the disaster. The legislation would extend the deadline for those who wish to file a claim.

Adding pressure to the issue is the city’s $657 million legal settlement being offered to responders for 9/11-related health problems. People could be forced to choose between the less generous settlement or take a risk on a bill that is not guaranteed to pass.

Rep. Maloney said Tuesday’s vote was the toughest hurdle yet.

“We’ve gathered at ground zero many times,” she said, standing at Vesey and Greenwich Streets. “I look forward to the day when the bill will be law and we don’t have to do this anymore.”


Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

3:54 PM - May 30, 2010 #10

Lawyers offer to reduce fees in 9/11 health case
AP foreign, Saturday May 29 2010

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for thousands of ground zero workers suing over their exposure to dust from the destroyed World Trade Center have offered to lower their legal fees in an attempt to salvage a major settlement in the case.

The law firm Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern was initially poised to take home a third or more of a $657 million settlement negotiated on behalf of the workers this spring, but the future of that payout was put in doubt when U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected the deal in March.

Hellerstein said the settlement contained too much money for the legal team and too little for people who are legitimately ill.

Now, the lawyers have told the judge in a letter that they are willing to cap their fees at 20 percent, or about $115 million if the dollar amounts from the original settlement remain unchanged.

The rest of the money would be divided among up to 10,000 workers, including some who aren't sick, but fear they might fall ill some day, and others who have asthma, cancer or other problems they fear might have been caused by toxic trade center ash.

It is unclear whether the offer will help revive the settlement, which is now being renegotiated.

Hellerstein had made several withering criticisms of the deal.

The judge said the complicated structure of the deal made it too difficult for workers to figure out how much they would be paid. He asked that the court be given greater control over who would qualify for awards, and who wouldn't.

Hellerstein also said more money should be made available to workers with cancer, despite little scientific evidence linking trade center ash to the illness.

Overall, the judge also said the total amount in the settlement was inadequate. It called for the special insurance entity created to defend the City of New York from lawsuits to pay out between $575 million and $657 million.

The two sides have been attempting to renegotiate the arrangement in a way that might please the judge. Simultaneously, lawyers for the city have appealed Hellerstein's rejection of the deal, saying it was beyond his powers to interfere in a private settlement between the parties.

Thousands of workers who participated in the massive cleanup after the 9/11 attacks have accused the city of failing to provide them with proper equipment to protect their lungs.


Information from: Daily News, http://www.nydailynews.com