The combined poisons of the dust and emissions are now widely considered to be one of the most toxic combinations in the history of US disaster relief, affecting not only First Responders, but hundreds of thousands of residents, workers and students of Lower Manhattan and the surrounding areas who returned to homes, job sites and schools which--shockingly--received little or no government-mandated cleanup.  Equally mind-boggling was the lack of protection offered to First Responders, volunteers and recovery personnel at the site: the majority were issued a paper dust mask, or—more commonly—no protection at all in the wake of EPA announcements that “no significant levels of asbestos” were present (Sept. 13th), and that “air sample… levels…cause no concern” (Sept. 14th), culminating in EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman’s September 18, 2001 declaration: “I am glad to reassure the people of New York . . . that their air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink."

Now, more than nine years after the disaster, huge numbers of First Responders, plus their fellow exposed New Yorkers are grievously ill.  Afflictions range from chronic bronchial disease to asbestosis, leukemia and cancers, plus a host of other diseases including systemic organ failure for which the etiology remains unidentified.  As of June 2010, 836 WTC workers have died; an estimated 70% of the 70,000-plus First Responders have declared illnesses; it is estimated by the World Trade Center Health Registry that 410,000 people have been ‘heavily exposed’ to WTC toxins (includes Responders), and may become seriously ill in the future. 

Relief for victims has not been on a par with the magnitude of the crisis.  Jobs have been lost, pensions denied, families destroyed and bankrupted.  Medical care is routinely denied due to lack of health insurance, lack of proof of 9/11 involvement, or--if offered--is frequently insufficient given the gravity of the illnesses, some of which confound medical experts.  In spite of official assurances that the 9/11 Health Crisis is being adequately addressed, medical centers with WTC-illness clinics such as Mt Sinai, Belleview, and Queens College have been more involved with collecting data and monitoring, as opposed to offering actual treatments.

Federal response has been inadequate at best.  The sole major relief fund to date, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, was designed to provide compensation to the families of individuals who perished or were injured on the day of or immediately following the attacks.  In spite of the fund’s existence, it has provided relief to only a small fraction of the total number of victims.  It has also been criticized because:

It excluded First Responders who arrived later than 96 hours after the attacks.  This is clearly insufficient, given that the recovery and cleanup of Ground Zero and related sites was over a period of nine months, involving tens of thousands of individuals.

The fund excluded all individuals who became ill later than the designated December 22, 2003 filing date, and is thus useless to victims whose 9/11 illnesses have a gestation time beyond the 12.22.03 deadline.

The fund provided no compensation for the over 300,000 residents, workers and students of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the adjacent areas who were exposed to toxins in their residences, jobsites or schools.

The fund obliged victims to sign waivers forfeiting their rights to file lawsuits against the airlines or government if fund money is collected.

In the nine year aftermath of the WTC attacks, the 9/11 Health Crisis has become a national disaster of epic proportions.  Finally in response, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY) introduced the 9/11 Health & Compensation Act to the US Congress (H.R. 847 --previous versions H.R. 3543, 6594, & 7174). Also known as the ‘James Zadroga bill’, if passed, this act would ensure:

That every 9/11 responder exposed to the toxins of Ground Zero and related sites has a right to be medically monitored.

That every 9/11 responder who is sick as a result of exposure has a right to treatment.

That care is expanded to the exposed community, including residents, area workers, students, and the thousands of people who came from across the country in response to the 9/11 attacks.

That the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund would be reopened to provide compensation for economic loss and damages.

Continued funding and support of the ‘Centers of Excellence’ (the FDNY, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Belleview Hospital, Queens College, SUNY Stony Brook and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey) which currently provide monitoring, support and care to First Responders.

The establishment of a Research and Support program by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for the diagnosis and treatment of WTC-related conditions and diseases.

In addition to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, 9/11 Health Now and other 9/11 groups request the following:

Accelerated FDA approval for all therapeutics in development that show promise in the treatment of 9/11-related illnesses.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control) Funding for epidemiological studies on 9/11-related illnesses.

NIH (National Institutes of Health) Funding to develop a clinical research network specifically for 9/11-related illnesses.

A Pension Fund for 9/11victims and their families.

An Emergency Relief Fund to address the urgent financial situation of the 9/11 victims.

Intervention and Outreach Programs that actively address the practical, medical and sociological needs of 9/11 victims.

A Superfund for the cleanup and detoxification of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and any surrounding areas affected by 9/11 toxins.

An accelerated protocol within Congress that would immediately put the above into legislation, along with the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.


Claire Calladine

David Miller

Co-Founders 9/11 Health Now

9:11 Health Crisis Fact Sheet Download.pdf

Environmental Exposures Fact Sheet.pdf

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“I am glad to reassure the people of New York...that their air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink...”

Christine Todd Whitman, (right)

EPA Chief, September 18, 2001

The 9/11 Health Crisis

On September 11, 2001, tens of thousands of Americans converged on New York City’s World Trade Center site in the most impassioned rescue and recovery effort in the history of the country.  Unbeknownst to these American patriots, the conditions at Ground Zero--in spite of Federal and State warnings to the contrary--were exceedingly toxic: hundreds of contaminants, including asbestos, lead, mercury and benzene--to name a few—were present in unprecedentedly high levels, both within the billowing dust cloud that settled over Lower Manhattan and the surrounding areas, and in the emissions from the Pile that smoldered for months afterward during the nine-month recovery and cleanup operation.


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