16 Years Later, 9/11 First Responders Remember, And Worry About Mesothelioma
Today marks the 16 year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and as the nation marks the date with memorials and moments of silence, tens of thousands of those who worked or lived near the twin towers or other damaged sites continue to worry about their risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Mesothelioma is just one of the worries that haunts the dreams of those who were there. Though the primary concern and memory of September 11th is of the death and devastation that occurred on the day itself, for first responders and others the day is a reminder that illness is a distinct possibility for their future. Police officers, recovery workers, firefighters and other first responders have been diagnosed with myriad breathing ailments including lung disease, asthma and cancer caused y exposure to the hazardous particles that filled the air. The toxic cloud was largely made upon asbestos, buried jet fuel, glass and aluminum, and there were nearly 70,000 people who worked in that environment for weeks afterwards, helping with the recovery effort.
The World Trade Center Health Program has already enrolled more than 67,000 responders looking for assistance and monitoring for medical impacts of their exposure, and another 12,000 people who lived or worked in the area. There concerns are very real: in the last five years more than 1,300 of those who enrolled have died, and because asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma have such a long latency period there is a very good chance that the numbers will spike sharply in the decades to come.
According to Ben Chevat, executive director of an advocacy group called 9/11 Health Watch, when the nation remembers the tragedy of September 11th they generally don’t think of these cancer and mesothelioma victims, or the secondary impact that is still unfolding and will continue to reveal itself in years to come. “People in America know the story of 9/11,” he says. “What’s really not well known or understood are the challenges facing so many to this day.”
If you are at risk for mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related illness, you know the emotional impact of living with fear and worry. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net understand this too, and we’re here to help. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more about the resources available to you.
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