One of the most tragic days in recent American history still haunts those affected 15 years later. The LHSFNA hopes this information provides relief to those in need of support.
First responders and survivors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks who are enrolled in the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program receive free annual monitoring and lifetime treatment for health conditions related to the events of that day. Nearly 75,000 people, many of them Laborers, are registered. Thousands more are eligible and the federal government is trying to locate them.
“Tracking down these people is a challenge because many of them do not live in the New York City area where the program has received the most publicity,” says LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer and LHSFNA Labor Co-Chairman Armand E. Sabitoni. “Around 9,500 first responders throughout the U.S. are known to have assisted with cleanup at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Shanksville sites. However, these are just the registered responders the WTC Health Program knows about. There are others who may not be aware that their illnesses could be connected to the toxic dust, fumes and other hazards they were exposed to 15 years ago.”
A growing number of diseases and health conditions have been linked to spending time at the sites of the terrorist attacks and the Staten Island landfill where debris was taken. These include more than 70 cancers, asthma, pulmonary diseases, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
“There’s still a good chunk of folks out there who responded to the event and most likely have not been seen by anybody yet,” said Dr. Michael Crane, medical director of the WTC program at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital.
In addition to multiple clinics throughout metropolitan New York City and its New Jersey suburbs, the WTC Health Program has a Nationwide Provider Network so that first responders throughout the country can receive medical care in the communities where they live. Even if they are not feeling sick, it’s important that everyone who was involved with cleanup register with the program, as many serious illnesses and conditions can take years to develop.
To find out more about the WTC Health Program go to www.cdc.gov/wtc or call 1-888-982-4748.
[Janet Lubman Rathner]