Air Today . . . Gone Tomorrow Article

'New Federal Bill Would Provide Health Care to Wider Range of Workers and Residents Exposed to World Trade Center Dust
NYCOSH Update on Safety and Health, Vol. VIII, No. 10, April 8, 2004

Last week Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) announced a bill (HR4059) that would significantly improve the federal government's response to the health care needs of 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, as well as residents who live near the World Trade Center site.

Joining Maloney and Shays in announcing the bill were a large number of Ground Zero responders, downtown residents, medical experts, and 9/11 family members who detailed the broad scope of the health problems and offered examples of individuals who are still sick or injured from the disaster and face difficulty obtaining appropriate healthcare.

Congresswoman Maloney said, When thousands of construction workers, police officers, firefighters, and rescue workers raced to Ground Zero after the September 11th attacks, the entire nation recognized their courage and heroism, but the federal response to fund medical programs that could monitor and treat the long-term health needs of these responders has been seriously lacking. Any time you have over four thousand people sick from one event it should be treated as a national health emergency. The lack of federal coordination, delays in funding, and total absence of aid for treatment shows a shameful neglect of 9/11 health issues in Washington. We hope to change that with this legislation.

Congressman Shays said, Ground Zero veterans can suffer the delayed casualties caused by toxic exposures. Federal, state and local health systems have to be vigilant in diagnosing and treating those wounds, but so far the response has lacked the coordination and sense of urgency required to meet existing health needs effectively.

The World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program at Mt. Sinai Medical Center has reported that approximately half of the 9,229 rescue and recovery workers screened so far have long-term respiratory illness or injury related to the response effort, and that over 3,500 eligible Ground Zero responders may be unable to be screened under current program resources. This program does not include the thousands of New York City firefighters involved in the response, because the FDNY has a separate program for monitoring the health of its 9/11 responders. The FDNY has reported, however, that more than 300 firefighters have filed for early retirement as a result of health problems related to the 9/11 response. Over 40,000 individuals are estimated to have participated in rescue and recovery operations at Ground Zero.



This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of democracy, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

Take me back to learn more