Rescue workers and survivors of the September 11 terrorist attacks who were later diagnosed with cancer will receive free treatment and compensation under the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health announced today that 14 categories of cancer had been added to the list of illnesses linked to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, NBC News reported.
Emergency workers and survivors of the attacks were exposed to toxic compounds from the wreckage and many have since been diagnosed with cancer, Reuters reported.
It "marks an important step in the effort to provide needed treatment and care to 9/11 responders and survivors," Dr. John Howard, administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program established by the Zadroga law, said on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
ABC News reported that the fund was set up in 2010 and named for police detective James Zadroga, who died after working at Ground Zero. It initially included only a short list of illnesses that qualified for compensation. Cancer was left off the list due to a lack of evidence linking the disease to the toxic dust.
Cancers including lung and colorectal, breast and bladder, leukemias, melanoma and all childhood cancers are now covered by the act.
"We have urged from the very beginning that the decision whether or not to include cancer be based on science," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
The decision "will continue to ensure that those who have become ill due to the heinous attacks on 9/11 get the medical care they need and deserve."
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