The terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, in Manhattan, New York, at the World Trade Center Towers and at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., caused thousands to be exposed to asbestos. Asbestos was used in building materials during the construction of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The horror of that day is marked in the minds of our entire nation, but the toxic dust released at Ground Zero continues to negatively affect many of the first responders now and will do so for years to come. As we know, asbestos in a person’s body may take decades to develop into mesothelioma.
What was the Asbestos Exposure at Ground Zero?
It has been determined that around 400 to 1000 tons of asbestos was used in the construction of the World Trade Center Towers. Asbestos was released into the air when the towers were destroyed in the 9/11 attacks, exposing firemen, policemen and other first responders. The amount of exposure cannot be measured exactly, but there already has been at least one fatality due to mesothelioma cancer for a 9/11 first responder. Some of the rescue workers and residents who were there that day have developed the “World Trade Center cough” and other ailments due to toxic exposure. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done a number of studies on the dust found at Ground Zero and reported findings of unsafe levels of asbestos. If you were in lower Manhattan during the 9/11 attacks or the days after, then you may have been exposed to asbestos.
Who was at Risk to Asbestos Exposure at Ground Zero?
Anyone in lower Manhattan, including first responders such as firemen, policemen and medical personnel, as well as survivors and residents, may have been exposed to asbestos. On that day, many people acted heroically by being willing to sacrifice their lives in order to save others. However, in doing so, they may have unknowingly exposed themselves to asbestos fibers. Not many of the first responders considered the toxic exposure because they were focused on performing their jobs, so most failed to use proper respiratory protection.
What is the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act?
James Zadroga was a 9/11 first responder who was the first individual to lose his life due to an illness related to his exposure to toxins. This Act was named in honor of him and his sacrifice and was created to assist those affected by exposure-related illnesses with monetary compensation. The results of the 9/11 attacks are still affecting individuals who have been exposed to respiratory toxins such as asbestos. Only time will tell how many people may develop mesothelioma, and the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act hopefully will still be in affect because it is due to lapse in 2016 unless renewed.