According to a report out of the New York Post the federal government will provide benefits to rescue workers and people living near Ground Zero on 9/11 who got cancer from exposure to hazardous dust.
The benefits will be extended to the group under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a 2010 piece of legislation that extended health benefits to first responders and nearby public who became ill as result of exposure to dust at the scene of the attacks.
Initially the act extended coverage to conditions that included aerodigestive disorders, such as chronic cough, asthma, sinusitis and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and other health problems, such as lower back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
In June, Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health proposed rule expanding the list of illnesses associated with Ground Zero exposure to include about 50 cancers.
He is expected to announce the cancers that will be included this week.
Since the attacks it is estimated that 400 workers have died from cancer, but according to the FealGood Foundation, a first-responders’ advocacy group, that number is likely to grow.
There were 40,000 people exposed and cancer can take decades to develop, said FeelGood founder John Feal.
With cancer included in the program more victims are likely to seek compensation, which could cause individual awards to be reduced as officials divide up the $2.77 billion fund.
“They’re going to add cancers, but are they going to add more money to the fund?” Thomas “T.J.” Gilmartin, who suffers from lung disease and sleep apnea, said to the Post. “It’s crazy. Every time, we gotta fight. It’s two years since Obama signed that bill, and nobody’s got 10 cents.”