Getting the word out about the 9/11 cancer cluster at downtown Manhattan schools

Former students and teachers who went to school or worked downtown after 9/11 are going public about their cancer diagnosis helping to spread the word that it’s not just first-responders who were exposed to toxins. Among those who have come forward are a former senior at Stuyvesant High School, a former senior at Pace University, and an assistant teacher at Leadership and Public Service High School on Trinity Place, all diagnosed with Thyroid cancer.

The United Federation of Teachers has contacted all staffers who were working at 12 lower Manhattan schools at the time of the 2001 attack, and is reaching out to parent teacher associations to let them know about benefits under the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). Both programs apply to students, residents, emergency responders, recovery and cleanup workers, office workers and volunteers who were in the New York City Exposure Zone during and immediately following the 9/11 attacks.

Since 9/11, continuous studies have been done on the health effects of exposure to the WTC toxins. Among the most recent and comprehensive studies are several reported last year by the WTC Health Registry. The published findings highlight the longer-term physical and mental health impacts from exposure to 9/11 toxins.

When the VCF was initially enacted, many of the people affected by the 9/11 attacks missed the December 2003 deadline for filing a claim. Many did not yet know that they had been made ill or had been injured as a result of their exposure to 9/11-related toxins, and thus, were not aware that they would need the VCF. In 2011, the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act recognized that these individuals were also victims of 9/11 and should be able to receive compensation for their suffering. As a result of the 2011 Zadroga Act and subsequent 2015 reauthorization, billions of dollars were added to the VCF. In addition, funds were allocated for the WTC Health Program.

As of August 31, 2017, the VCF has made more than 21,000 eligibility decisions, finding over 17,000 claimants eligible for compensation. The VCF has made award determinations on 14,000 of those claims at a total value of more than $3 billion. As of June 30, 2017, the WTC Health Program has provided initial screenings, medical monitoring and treatment to almost 68,000 responders and 12,000 survivors enrolled as members.

The Zadroga Act also extended the deadline for filing a Victim Compensation Fund claim to December 18, 2020.

If you lived, worked or went to school in Manhattan below Canal Street between September 11, 2001 and May 31, 2002, and are suffering from a cancer or respiratory illness, you may be entitled to compensation from the VCF. Please call Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo for a free consultation at (212) 732-9000 or contact us via our website.

For information on additional medical studies, see our Selected Bibliography.

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