Similar to the issue of how burn pits and asbestos have affected many of our veterans, there is another group of heroes who also seem to be at an increasingly high risk for developing asbestos-related diseases: the brave men and women who responded to Ground Zero on 9/11.
Last month, Police Officer Robert Oswain, a Bronx cop who served in recovery efforts at Ground Zero, passed away from a rare form of cancer. Some reports have indicated that the cancer was mesothelioma and resulted from his exposure to toxic dust after the World Trade Center was destroyed on 9/11. Officer Oswain’s passing has renewed cries for increased funding and research of the “cancer cluster” emerging within NYC Police and Fire Departments, as a growing number of responders continue to develop diseases at relatively young ages.
While occupations like auto technicians and shipbuilders historically are more prone to asbestos exposure than others, the duties of a police officer are usually far removed from these “high-risk” professions. However, the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the 9/11 response has resulted in health workers having difficulty tracking, studying and treating these rare cancers as they continue to develop amongst Ground Zero workers.
Additional details about the problems surrounding the NYC 9/11 cancer study can be found in this New York Daily News article. You can also learn more about asbestos and 9/11 here.
In the end, this is another example of how BAN! stretches beyond keeping asbestos out of our offices, schools and homes, and extends to our entire country. We owe it to ourselves and those keeping us safe to raise awareness, increase funding and treatments, and BAN!