New York mesothelioma attorney Joseph W. Belluck said the signing of the 9/11 Health Care bill underscores the nation’s ongoing support for the rescue workers and NY residents who have suffered respiratory health problems related to breathing the toxic dust cloud after World Trade Center terrorist attacks.
“America has lived up to its moral duty to the brave responders who served selflessly on 9/11 and the days afterward,” said Belluck, a partner in Belluck & Fox, a personal injury law firm that represents victims of mesothelioma, a respiratory disease caused by breathing asbestos.
On Sunday, President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that provides medical care and compensation to rescue workers and others harmed by the toxic dust after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The bill was named to honor a New York police detective who some consider to be the first responder to die from breathing the dust at Ground Zero. Zadroga died in 2006. In the closing days of 2010, Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise to pass the bill after years of wrangling about the cost.
The $4.3 billion measure provides $1.8 billion to establish a monitoring and treatment program to measure the ongoing health effects suffered by 9/11 first responders and New Yorkers of breathing the dust. It provides $2.5 billion to re-open the September 11 Victims’ Compensation Fund for five years to provide fair compensation for asbestos exposure, economic losses, and harm.
“Many New Yorkers’ lungs bear the damage from the toxic dust breathed after the 9/11 attacks,” Belluck said in a press release.. “Some firefighters still have abnormal lung function years later, and certainly respiratory diseases such as mesothelioma takes decades to appear.”
Mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung or abdomen, is linked to breathing asbestos. The microscopic asbestos particles lodge in the lung and may cause malignant tumors to appear 20 to 40 years later. Mesothelioma claims the lives of 2,500 to 3,000 Americans a year, most of whom were exposed to asbestos in a workplace many years earlier.