On September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center Towers were struck, most people were running away from the towers trying to get to a place of safety. There were others that day who rushed downtown to help. After the September 11 attacks, nothing exemplified the city’s generous spirit as the many New Yorkers who helped at Ground Zero for days, weeks and months without being asked.

So many of these volunteers had no idea what they would be doing at the site; they just wanted to help. Unfortunately, they also had no idea what carcinogens were present in the dust and debris that they were breathing in and the health complications that could arise from exposure. As a result of volunteering at Ground Zero, many of them would find it difficult to breathe or get out of bed. They also faced a mental toll on their psyche from working down at the World Trade Center Site. They risked their health and lives.

There have been countless studies showing how much of an effect the toxins from the World Trade Towers had on firefighters and first responders. According to research in The Lancet medical journal, firefighters exposed to the World Trade Center dust proved to be nineteen percent more likely to develop cancer than the general population. Where does that leave our volunteers? A common misconception is that volunteers are shut out of the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP). That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was established to compensate all those killed or physically harmed as a result of the 9/11 attacks, including volunteers. While the World Trade Center Health Program was created to provide medical treatment and health checkups for 9/11 related injuries to volunteers, survivors, members of the Fire Department of the City of New York, New York City survivors, Pentagon/Shanksville, Pennsylvania responders and survivors, and first responders. To find out more information about these eligible groups, visit the CDC website.

Volunteers are eligible to apply to the VCF and WTCHP. If you or a loved one volunteered down at the World Trade Center Site or anywhere south of Canal Street during the September 11, 2001 to May 30, 2002 period and are dealing with health complications that you believe are World Trade Center related, you can reach out to our law firm at (800) 962-9954 or via our contact page.

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