More 9/11 illnesses covered

Eleven years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the country is still feeling the effects.

Federal health authorities at the World Trade Center Health Program have added 58 types of cancer to the list of covered illnesses for people who were exposed to toxins at ground zero.

The additions follow the recommendation of Dr. John Howard, administrator of the WTCHP.

“The publication of this final rule marks an important step in the effort to provide needed treatment and care to 9/11 responders and survivors through the WTC Health Program,” Howard said in a Sept. 10 statement.

Survivors of the attacks, volunteers, residents and first responders who meet specific qualifications will be eligible for coverage, according to the WTCHP. The proposal states an estimated 950 to 2,150 people would be eligible to take advantage of the additional coverage.

Among the types of cancer to be covered are breast, colon, lung, skin, ovarian, esophageal and stomach cancers. The WTCHP will continue to conduct research and the possibility exists that other cancers will be added to the list, including prostate, brain and pancreatic.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the new additions in a statement Sept. 10.

“Dr. Howard’s decision, made after thorough consideration of the latest available research and data, will continue to ensure that those who have become ill due to the heinous attacks on 9/11 will get the medical care they need and deserve.”

The WTCHP was first created with the passage of the Zadroga Act in December 2010, and is designed to provide medical services and compensation to those exposed to toxic chemicals while working at ground zero.

President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in January 2011, allocating $4.2 billion to the organization. The law is named after James Zadroga, a New York police officer who died of respiratory disease after helping at ground zero.

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