At the end of 2015, the first responders present during the 9/11 terrorist attacks won a huge victory: the Zadroga Act passed through Congress, extending their health care program from 75 years. In September, Congress had failed to reauthorize funding for health care, but in December, both the House and the Senate voted to extend the deadline.
Among other toxic substances, hundreds of tons of asbestos fibers were released into air after the Twin Towers collapsed, exposing first responders and others present at the time. The cleanup of the debris also exposed countless workers to the substance, which can lead to deadly diseases decades after exposure. New York City Police Detective James Zadroga was one of these individuals. He inhaled "a lethal mix of asbestos, pulverized cement and hazardous chemicals" while searching for victims in the debris.
The Zadroga Act ensures that the first responders and others present in lower Manhattan on September 11 will be entitled to testing and treatment for illnesses related to exposure on that day. Congress also renewed the Victims Compensation Fund for another five years.
Asbestos-related diseases can take years or decades to develop after exposure has taken place. This is why it is so important to see the Zadroga Act continue into the future. Many of the first responders who were exposed on 9/11 won't begin to see symptoms for years to come.
Were you or a loved one exposed to a toxic substance on September 11, 2001? Let us know how you feel about the Zadroga Act passing in a comment below!
Source: NY Daily News