September 11th, 2001 was a nightmare for the United States, and the aftermath of the attacks has continued to be grim. Following the attacks, many emergency responders answered the call for help. Volunteers also came to lend a hand in the rescue and recovery efforts. The health hazards faced by these rescuers were not fully realized until later. Dust and debris from the fall of the twin towers could have harbored potentially dangerous materials such as asbestos . Inhalation of asbestos fibers and dust has been linked to numerous lung ailments such as asbestosis and mesothelioma . Early screening and treatment for these can help to prevent complications in the future. Some emergency responders have already been compensated for their health care costs, but others, especially volunteers and the residents of the area, remain without screening for potentially deadly lung ailments caused from breathing in toxins at the World Trade Center site. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is asking for grant proposals to cover health care and screening costs for those exposed to possible asbestos dust and other toxins at the World Trade Center site. Testing for emergency responders has been covered through other programs, but for the many volunteers and residents of the area who arrived on the scene health care assistance has been absent.
The CDC seeks to remedy this situation by offering $30 million in grant money over the next three years. To help individuals cover any costs not paid by their insurance, the CDC has allotted $30 million over the next three years. This money will also be awarded to grant recipients to promote health testing and care for those adversely affected by the dust and debris from the World Trade Center site. Grant applications are being taken until August 25th, 2008 after which one to three recipients will be named. The receiving organizations should be able to provide access to health care services to those who exposed to dust and debris on September 11th, 2001. With these grants, the CDC hopes to provide the needed help to the volunteers who have yet to receive proper physical evaluations.