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A recent study links exposure to asbestos in New York following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and other chemicals in the air to cancer, including mesothelioma, Bloomberg reports.
Victims and relatives have long suspected that the thick smell in the air that lingered for months following the terrorist attacks in New York City has negative health implications for firefighters and other first responders following the attacks.
But it’s not just firefighters, medics and volunteers who have been exposed to asbestos and can be diagnosed with mesothelioma. This can happen to just about anyone. Older buildings, factories and even parts, such as brake pads, insulation and floor and ceiling tiles were all made with asbestos years ago, meaning people today can be exposed without even knowing it.
Being diagnosed with this deadly and incurable form of cancer is devastating. Contacting a New York Mesothelioma Attorney once you are diagnosed is an important step in making sure a family is protected.
A study released recently by a UK-based medical journal reports that firefighters who responded to Ground Zero were 19 percent more likely to have cancer through 2008 than firefighters who didn’t go at all. It is the first study to link cancer rates to first responders, Bloomberg reports.
The research studied 9,853 firefighters and included help from medical researchers in the Bronx as well as the New York Fire Department. The New York State Laborers’ Health Fund reported that more than 50,000 people were exposed to chemicals at the site, by working to recover the dead and clean the site or surrounding buildings. That includes firefighters, police, construction workers and volunteers.
The study found that 27 people died of cancer from Sept. 11, 2001 to Sept. 11, 2008. The study excluded firefighters who were older than 60 in 2001 and anyone who had a previous cancer diagnosis. Federal legislators earlier this year passed a bill that would help rescuers and cleanup crews suffering from ailments, but the $4.3 billion that was earmarked closes in 2016.
Mesothelioma, however, is a slow-moving cancer that can take as many as 30 or 40 years to be diagnosed. Asbestos flakes that are ingested travel through the blood system and take home in the lining of major organs for years. They can sit unnoticed until they form tumors and lead to typical symptoms, such as coughing, fluid in the lungs and chest pain.
Once diagnosed, the average lifespan is 12 months. While it takes years and sometimes decades to develop, it stays hidden so long and leads to such a quick demise. Regular screenings for those who worked with old equipment or in old factories must be mandatory in order to ensure quickly catching the cancer. Our bravest workers, including firefighters and police officers, should be protected from this deadly illness, especially given their sacrifices on one of the worst days in America’s history.
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