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Bloomberg Reports Nearly 40,000 NY First Responders Worked At Ground Zero

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Mayor Bloomberg has reported that nearly 40,000 New York first responders worked at Ground Zero following the attacks on Manhattan’s World Trade Center.

The exact number—an astonishing 39,921—were provided to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, along with job, job title, age, race, and gender, said The New York Post. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine is treating first responders and just announced that Ground Zero’s toxic dust has led to an increase in cancer, said The Post. The Mayor’s announcement followed what The Post described as “a firestorm of controversy over the health of the police force,”

Philip Landrigan, Mount Sinai’s study lead, said he has seen a 14% increased rate of cancer among rescue workers, specifically cancers of the prostate and thyroid, as well as certain blood cancers. Landrigan’s findings were submitted to a journal for review and are expected to be part of the decision-making process when federal officials discuss the inclusion of cancer among the illnesses covered under the Zadroga Act for sick first responders, said The Post.

The study was the largest of its kind and involved 20,000 firefighters and police officers and sanitation workers, construction workers, and others who assisted at Ground Zero following the terror attack

Congress’ advisory panel, which reviews changing scientific and medical evidence, will be making its recommendations about the illnesses that should be covered under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act’s $2.8 billion Victim Compensation Fund. Today, cancer is excluded from Zadroga Act coverage over allegedly insufficient scientific proof that Ground Zero dust exposure is linked to increased risks for developing cancer.

A recent Huffington Post report indicated that the World Trade Center Health Program’s Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee heard testimony in March, in New York, over the cancer issue. Some of that testimony,could have swayed the advisors’ opinions.

“It seems like many [members] are in favor of listing at least some cancers of some systems as World Trade Center-related conditions,” said Dr. Elizabeth Ward, chairwoman of the World Trade Center Health Program’s Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee, according to the Huffington Post.

The report suggests that evidence linking toxic Ground Zero dust exposure to cancer is growing. “I think that we’ve reached a point… [where] we can say with a high degree of certainty that the exposures that the responders experienced down there at Ground Zero and the other World Trade Center sites, we can reasonably anticipate that those exposures are going to cause cancer,” Landrigan said.

A prior study—results were released in September—revealed that firefighters working at the site were 19% likelier to develop cancer than those who weren’t there, said the Huffington Post.

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