On September 11, 2013, our hearts are heavy at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) as we remember the nearly 3,000 innocent lives that were taken 12 years ago.
New York City Police Detective James Zadroga, who would have been 42 years old this year, died after working at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. He did not die on 9/11, though; he died 5 years later from respiratory failure traced back to exposure to toxic chemicals at Ground Zero. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is named in his memory. In 2012, the fatal asbestos-caused disease mesothelioma was one of a long list of cancers added to the Act, bringing the total to over 65 diseases, and allowing others like Zadroga and their families to receive treatment and compensation.
Countless more have died since then due to toxic exposure. 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.
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. 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”?
“Whether You’re Sick Or Not,” said Rep. Maloney. “Remember To Register.” The deadline to register as a potential claimant with the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) is Oct. 3, 2013. Call the VCF at (855) 885-1555 for more information.
On behalf of ADAO, I send the families of 9/11 my heartfelt condolences as we reinforce our commitment to education, advocacy, and community support. We will never forget those we lost on 9/11 and those who battle disease today. In the spirit of raising awareness we encourage you to share our latest Infographic “Irrefutable Facts About Asbestos.”
John, I will always remember you.