President Barack Obama has signed a new bill into law that will cover the health care service costs for any responders to Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks who have since developed medical issues that may have been caused by inhaling toxic asbestos dust and other contaminates in the air following the collapse.
More than three months after it was passed by the House of Representatives, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was formally signed into law by Obama on January 2. The bill received its namesake in honor of James Zadroga, a detective for the NYPD helped in the rescue and recovery missions at Ground Zero following the attacks.
Following the attacks, those close to Zadroga say he developed respiratory problems that were believed to be caused by the contaminated air and eventually led to his death at the age of 34.
“I was honored to sign the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to ensure that rescue and recovery workers, residents, students, and others suffering from health consequences related to the World Trade Center disaster have access to the medical monitoring and treatment they need,” Obama said following the signing.
“I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks,” he added.
There were 40,000 responders to Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York City Department of Health initially deemed the air in Lower Manhattan to be safe, later air tests revealed that some areas had asbestos levels that rivaled figures taken in Libby, Montana.
Additional tests suggested that 62 percent of those caught in the dust cloud following the collapse, and 46 percent of those who lived or worked in the area but were not caught in the dust cloud, had suffered ongoing respiratory problems since September 2001.
While the New York City Council banned the usage of asbestos and cement slurry as a form of fireproofing for construction projects in 1971, construction of the World Trade Center had begun in 1968. Despite efforts to remove asbestos from the building in the years that followed, much of the dangerous slurry was still in the building at the time of the attacks.
For those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer that can be linked to any specific form of asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney to learn more about your rights, and to see if pursuing a mesothelioma settlement is in your best interest.