In addition to the horrors endured by the brave first responders and victims at ground zero, 9/11 may result in even more deaths as time goes on. Reports indicate more than 2,000 people have now died from 9/11-related diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma, as a direct result of widespread chemical exposure during and after the attack. In comparison, the number of total fatalities at ground zero during the September 11th attack is estimated to be 2,753. According to some accounts, it’s highly possible the number of deaths caused by disease will already surpass that number by the end of 2018.
One of the biggest culprits is asbestos, a toxic mineral known to directly cause mesothelioma and other serious cancers. Asbestos was widely used as a flame retardant and insulator in buildings like the World Trade Center, even though manufacturers and construction companies knew for decades it caused a wide array of diseases. Asbestos exposure is now known as the primary cause of pleural mesothelioma, and when the twin towers collapsed on September 11th, the asbestos, glass fibers, cement, and toxic gases they contained rained down upon innocent bystanders and firefighters at the scene. Many eyewitnesses say the white dust was caked several inches thick on their clothes, leaving many exposed to asbestos.
Most Common 9/11-Related Diseases and Their Consequences
In the aftermath of that tragic Tuesday, the 2010 James Zadroga Act established a health program to assist victims suffering from 9/11-related diseases. Called The World Trade Center Health Program, it currently enrolls 72,000 people with documented connections to ground zero, who either worked to clean up the area or served as first responders on the scene. 8,000 of those people already have cancer, and as many as 400,000 in total could become ill over the next 20 years.
These are the most commonly reported diseases sustained after 9/11:
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Acid reflux
- Stomach cancer
- Blood poisoning
- Cervical cancer
- Colon cancer
It took several years for the link between these diseases and the attack to be recognized, and for the government to take action. It was only thanks to a class-action lawsuit that the James Zadroga Act was passed in 2010 to assist victims. In addition to creating the World Trade Center Health Program, the act also established a victim compensation fund covering over 50 different forms of cancer. Although many are continuing their noble work to assist those affected by September 11th, it appears the fateful consequences of that day may continue on for years to come.
Contact a mesothelioma lawyer today at Shrader & Associates, L.L.P. if you suffered from asbestos exposure during 9/11. You may be eligible to enroll in the World Trade Center Health Program, or to receive other compensation for your injuries.