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Zadroga Act Panel Recommends Cancer Coverage

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The Zadroga Act panel has recommended cancer coverage for Ground Zero workers who claim they developed various forms of cancer as a result of their work there following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Until now, the workers have been denied coverage for cancer. The recommended coverage

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is for some cancers, said WNYC. Proposed cancers include cancer of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems; different varieties of breast, skin, mouth, ovary, and thyroid cancers; and all or most blood, childhood, and rare cancers. Prostate brain, and pancreatic cancers are excluded. The debate over the issue of cancer coverage for Ground Zero workers has been long and, during these negotiations, often intense, with many panelists arguing for coverage and citing cause-and-effect connections, said WNYC. Some felt the links were thin, but sufficient to recommend coverage; others argued that prevailing research was insufficient to prove a link, said WNYC. “Only about 5 percent of all cancer is related to … occupational and environmental exposure,” said Dr. William Rom, a professor of Medicine and Environmental Medicine, at NYU, wrote WNYC. “I think we should try everything we can to get to that 5 percent. But thinking of the other 95 percent—there’s a lack of scientific evidence for those, and we’re supposed to be a scientific advisory committee,” he added. Susan Sidel, a volunteer World Trade Center responder, argued that, “Not everything is covered [by research], because not everything has been explored…. “There’s never been the money or the time available to explore all the problems people have,” wrote WNYC. A prior meeting recommended cancer, in general, be among the illnesses covered, noted WNYC. The recent meeting was scheduled to vote on if all cancer or specific cancers be covered under the Zadroga Act. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Law focused on lung, skin, digestive, and other physical problems, but specifically excluded cancer. The Law did, however, allow for cancer to be added at a later time if emerging science—at the discretion of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—found links between cancer and the attacks. The CDC will review the recommendations; its decision is expected later this year, said WNYC. Until now, the Zadroga Act has denied medical coverage to Ground Zero workers claiming they developed various forms of cancer due to their work at Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks there, noted NewsInferno. While thousands have received compensation and medical coverage for other diseases and illnesses resulting from their proximity to Ground Zero, the federal government has denied that Ground Zero workers developed cancer despite the growing severity of diseases seen in workers, said NewsInferno. Since its passage, which made $2.8 billion in medical compensation and coverage available to thousands of Ground Zero workers, the federal government has also denied that the toxic fumes and chemical cloud that hovered over Ground Zero following the attacks could cause anyone to develop cancer, said NewsInferno. Worse, some Ground Zero workers—many working there for months—were not appropriately protected from the toxins known to be in the area, such as what was released from burning jet fuel and building materials, NewsInferno explained.

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