Troy Rosasco, Partner, Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco, LLP, and Daniel J Hansen, Partner, Turley, Hansen & Partners, say they support the scientific study published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, and released by the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), which found that firefighters who worked at the World Trade Center after the September 11, 2001 attacks had a greater chance of getting cancer than those who were not at the site. Both attorneys also agree that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) should have waited until the FDNY published its findings before determining whether those with certain cancers will be eligible for the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and urged NIOSH to re-examine its decision immediately.
On September 1, the FDNY released its findings which studied 9,853 firefighters - 8,927 of which were exposed to the airborne toxins - and concluded that firefighters who worked at the Ground Zero site after 9/11 were 19% more likely to get cancer than those who never worked at the site. The federally-funded study followed the firefighters over a seven-year period.
According to the study, there were 263 cases of cancer in the exposed group, 38 more cases that those who were not exposed to the toxins. The study also found that 27 firefighters who were at Ground Zero died of cancer. The FDNY will submit its findings to NIOSH.
The study was released approximately one and a half months after Dr. John Howard, who oversees the VCF program, concluded that there was not enough scientific evidence linking exposure to toxins at Ground Zero to cancer. He said other exposures associated with cancer - smoking, diet, genetic predispositions - cannot be linked to one event, such as the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"The FDNY's findings proved what we knew all along: that there is a link between exposure to Ground Zero toxins and cancer," Mr. Rosasco said. "It was definitely too soon for Dr. Howard and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to exclude cancers from the list of diseases that are eligible for the fund."
"We urge Dr. Howard and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to review the FDNY study and immediately re-examine their prior decision." Mr. Hansen said. "Many of these firefighters worked tirelessly at the Ground Zero site, unaware of the dangers they were exposed to and the illnesses and diseases they would later contract. They need medical treatment and compensation to support their families now - not a year from now. This study - funded by the federal government - is proof that these heroes need to receive the medical care and financial compensation they justly deserve."
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