Cancer an aftershock for 9/11 first responders

There has been much speculation on the after effects of the exposure to Ground Zero in New York after 9/11. It is felt that a surprisingly large number of healthy, young New York cops and first responders have been diagnosed with cancer. The New York Post has obtained data that shows the tripling of the number of cops applying for cancer related disability pensions after 9/11. These are the first statistics to have been made public and seem to confirm the fears that exposure to the toxic World Trade Center site could have a lasting health impact on the 12,000 officers who worked there.

According to data from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) over 297 cops who worked at Ground Zero have since been diagnosed with cancer; what is even more disturbing is that the average age at which these cops develop cancer is 44, which is relatively young. 56 Cops have died as a result of cancer, and an average of about 16 apply annually for cancer related disability, up from about 6 before 9/11. These cancers affect the lung, bile duct, tongue and even nasal passages.

There is also a debate about the New York Police Departments attitude towards studies about the risk of cancer and its relationship with the terror attacks. Mount Sinai School of Medicine which treats first responders and has repeatedly requested data for a study of its own about the incidence of cancer among people working on Ground Zero, says that the Department has been uncooperative.  The PBA and Union officials  feel that this secrecy is because the New York Police Department want to protect the city from liability. While the Department says that it has nothing to hide and that it has conducted a study of its own on 9/11 and cancer and have another on the way. A spokeswoman for the Mayor Bloomberg also reiterated that the city was a staunch advocate of the federal Zadroga Act which will help the many people who participated in the 9/11 clean up and are now suffering with illnesses that are related to their exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero.

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