Risks Of Asbestos
In September 2001, after the Twin Towers collapse there was huge amounts of debris, smoke, and dust that released toxic asbestos fibers into the air. All of the asbestos fireproofing substances used in the buildings came raining down on New York City.
Twin Towers Asbestos Material
It is estimated by the World Trade Center Health Registry that about 410,000 people were exposed to these hazardous materials. This included rescue workers, and the clean up following 911.
Our rescue workers searching for survivors were the most affected by this fallout. They were the first on the scene and the last ones to leave. Clean up workers were exposed to asbestos following the collapse of the towers.
Illness From Asbestos Exposure
Even before the twin towers attack, there were concerns about the twin towers construction which started in 1966. The builders eventually put a ban on using asbestos materials, but at this point there were many asbestos-containing materials that were already in place that any type of asbestos removal was out of the question.
Since asbestos is safe until it is disturbed this did not pose a health problem to anyone. Once the fireproofing materials from 20 stories towers can pouring down on NYC, the asbestos was shattered into minute particles and were scattered over Lower Manhattan.
Exposure to asbestos can cause serious illnesses such as asbestosis, and mesothelioma. Generally it would take 20-50 years for symptoms to appear, but within 5 years after breathing in the toxic dust and smoke, an emergency responder died from mesothelioma. There are other reports of workers developing symptoms and dying as soon as two years after.
The workers who responded were not prepared to handle the contaminated air, and the respiratory protection that was provided was insufficient against these toxic materials.
Close to 70% of all recovery workers have suffered from various lung problems, and this has since become termed as the “World Trade Center Cough”.
The groups of people that were affected are:
Debris removal crews
Nearby officer workers
Lower Manhattan residents
The clean up from this fallout continued and even workers who joined clean-up crews as late as Jan ’02 developed significant respiratory health problems.
There were 817 world trade center deaths from various complications due to asbestos exposure as of Sept 2009. Around 40,000 people were being monitored for various problems, and 20,000 were ill and being treated. There were many cases of upper respiratory symptoms, while others reported multiple medical symptoms and concerns. The list of lung conditions caused by 911 also included lung problems, sinus and asthma problems. The World Trade Center Health program also recognizes certain digestive disorders, musculoskeletal disorders,mental health conditions, post-traumatic stress disorder, and hypertension.
World Trade First Responders Compensation
Ten years after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers, the U.S. government passed the law * the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act* which provided medical care for people with health issues related to the collapse of the Twin Towers.
Originally compensation was offered from 2011-2016, but Congress voted in 2015 to extend coverage for an additional 75 years. It is shown that asbestos-related diseases can develop decades after exposure.
Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits in NYC
Tens of thousands of people breathing the asbestos laden dust and smoke developed critical respiratory illnesses and several kinds of cancers. Many of these victims have filed lawsuits.
A $713 million dollar court settled was reached in 2010 with more than 10,000 rescue and recovery workers claiming illness due to asbestos fallout. Port Authority NY and New Jersey also had settlements which brings the total to $810 million.
People exposed to asbestos fibbers at Ground Zero developed cancers such as melanoma, thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, no-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Other cancers are slower to develop such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. These are all linked to the 9/11 exposure to asbestos.
According to Dr Craig Stevens, a mesothelioma specialist at Moffitt Cancer Center, he predicts a spike in lung cancer and mesothelioma cases beginning in 2021 and expects it to peak by the year 2041.
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