NY Attorney Supports 9/11 Health Bill that Provides Health Coverage for Exposure to Mesothelioma-Causing Asbestos
Prominent New York mesothelioma attorney Joseph W. Belluck believes the 9/11 Health Bill, that would provide up to $7.4 billion in aid to early responders of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is critical for the nation to show support to the workers whose health was devastated by working in the toxic wreckage of the World Trade Center at Ground Zero. Rescue workers are now facing the risk of asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma and respiratory disease, from inhaling the noxious cloud of dust containing asbestos and other toxic substances such as mercury and lead.
“Many New York firefighters and rescue personnel have suffered respiratory problems as a result of the dust they breathed while risking their lives to help others on 9/11,” said Belluck. “It’s only fitting that we as a country now help these emergency responders with monitoring, treatment and health services.”
The legislation would establish a monitoring and treatment program, including mental health services, for first responders and New Yorkers who were exposed to the toxic dust. A 2010 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that a substantial portion of the New York Fire Department rescue workers who were exposed to World Trade Center dust after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks still had abnormal lung function in 2008.
Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer primarily caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers, typically affects the lining of the lungs. Most cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed 30 years or more after exposure. The latency period can be as long as 50 years.
“Given the long latency period of diseases such as mesothelioma, it’s fair to say we will see more serious health effects from 9/11 for decades to come,” Belluck said. “Establishing comprehensive monitoring and treatment programs to address the serious health concerns while they are in the early stages is the right thing to do.”