Under the new ruling, 9/11 Ground Zero first responders will now be covered for treatment and compensation for cancer claims. There are 50 types of cancer Ground Zero workers and city residents will be able to qualify under the Zadroga Act.
The director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. John Howard, agreed with a federal panel’s decision to add 14 cancer categories which covers 50 specific types of cancer to the existing list of medical conditions incurred by 9/11. Cancers will be covered under the $4.3 billion fund.
When the Zadroga Act was initially enacted in 2011, the coverage for medical conditions largely covered respiratory illnesses but did not include cancers at all. Officials cite the reasoning for this is because at the time there was no scientific evidence that cancers were linked to the events of 9/11. Critics including first responders believed cancers were omitted from coverage because of the cost factor for the fun.
Proponents of adding cancer to the list of compensable conditions are thrilled with the landmark decision. Dr. Howard stated the firefighters who were on scene at Ground Zero and exposed to the toxins had a 19% higher cancer rate than those not present on the days following the tragedy at the World Trade Center site.
Currently the fund is set to expire in 2016. In order to add more money to the fund and extend the time period of fund availability, there will need to be authorization from Congress.