A study conducted from 2001 to 2008, published Tuesday, April 23rd, found higher than expected rates of cancer among rescue and recovery workers in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Mirroring two previous studies on rates of cancer among 9/11 survivors and rescue and recovery workers exposed to the debris and wreckage, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives published the study, which outlined higher than anticipated instances of thyroid, prostate, blood and soft tissue cancers. Overall, the prevalence of cancer among rescue and recovery workers was 15% higher than anticipated.
The parameters of the study assumed that 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, typically firefighters, police officers and emergency medical service workers, were likely to be healthier than the general population and, therefore, the expectation of cancer incidences was lower than the usual cancer rate. Authors of the study wrote that if this population had a 15% higher cancer rate than a similar population in only the first eight years after 9/11, when many cancers take longer than seven years to develop, then this figure could be expected to increase over time for the rescue and recovery workers who were exposed to the chemicals and debris of the World Trade Center wreckage.
The Zadroga Act, signed into law in 2011, set aside $2.8 billion for compensation of individuals who have suffered 9/11 related cancers and illnesses as a result of their exposures to the debris, smoke and multiple carcinogens that were released after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Recently, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the program that administers the 9/11 compensation fund, stated that it had only distributed about $5.6 million to qualifying 9/11 survivors.
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