by Nora Bosworth
On the cusp of the 11th anniversary of 9/11, the federal government has at last decided that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act should also cover cancer—about 50 different types, in fact.
The act, according to the NYPost, already grants medical checkups and/or treatment to around 40,000 people; but up till now the law’s Victims Compensation Fund has been withheld, as parties debated whether it should apply to cancer patients. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the agency in charge of the law’s breadth, previously claimed there was insufficient evidence that Ground Zero’s dust was carcinogenic.
Now Michael Barasch and Noah Kushlefsky, two lawyers representing thousands of victims, say that due to new evidence linking the site’s toxins to cancer, legislators will amend the Compensation Fund to cover care for various forms of the disease. Victims worry that the government won’t increase the fund, which currently holds $2.77 billion, to account for these added beneficiaries. Moreover, despite recognizing the good news, some feel that the amendment has come too late, and already cost too many lives. The Zadroga Act is named after a NYPD detective who worked at Ground Zero, and died in 2006 from debatably related causes.
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