Remembering Those We Lost on 9/11

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UPDATED on September 11, 2012

On the eve of 9/11, the federal government added nearly 50 types of cancer, including mesothelioma, to the list of Sept. 11 World Trade Center-related illnesses that will be covered in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.  Dr. John Howard, Director of National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) said, “The publication of this final rule marks an important step in the effort to provide needed treatment and care to 9/11 responders and survivors through the WTC Health Program.”   New York City Police Detective, James Zadroga, died from respiratory failure after working at Ground Zero when he was just 34 years old.   READ MORE

Posted on September 10, 2012

For the last decade, September 11th has been a day of somber reflection and profound grief. This year is no different as my mind repeatedly returns to the painful memories. Nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken.  Hundreds of employees who simply went to work never returned home. Every year, I personally mourn the loss of my wonderful friend John Ogonowski, who was the captain of American Airlines Flight #11, which was hijacked and flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

At ADAO, an organization acutely aware of the dangers of asbestos, we understand that the September 11th terrorist attacks unfortunately continue to claim lives. When the towers collapsed, building debris blanketed Lower Manhattan, exposing thousands of residents and workers to known hazards in the air, including over 1,000 tons of asbestos. Consequently, a disproportionate number of area residents and 9/11 emergency service workers have since died of cancer. For example, a comprehensive cancer study of New York City Firefighters after 9/11 found that firefighters working at the site of the terrorist attacks contracted 10% more cancers than the general public and 19% more cancers than firefighters who did not work at the site.

We had no way of foreseeing the evil that took place eleven years ago tomorrow. However, we do have an opportunity to spare lives in the future. One of the many tragedies of 9/11 is that several men and women who courageously served as first responders at Ground Zero are now suffering from preventable asbestos-caused diseases, highlighting our country’s deadly legacy of utilizing asbestos products. As a nation, we have an opportunity to prevent such tragedies in the future – beginning by banning the import of asbestos. Unbeknownst to many Americans, the U.S. continues to use asbestos. Just last month, the United States Geological Survey reported that U.S. consumption of asbestos increased 13% in 2011. How many more must suffer before we say: “Enough.” This year on 9/11, ADAO will be at the International Mesothelioma Interest Group Conference – with people who are working hard to cure the terrible disease of mesothelioma.

On behalf of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, I send the families of 9/11 my heartfelt condolences as we reinforce ADAO’s commitment to education, advocacy, and community support.

We will never forget those we lost on 9/11.

In unity,

Linda

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