US wants 9/11 health program to include 50 cancers

June 9, 2012 • National News

FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, a man wipes ash from his face after terrorists flew two airplanes into the World Trade Center towers, causing them to collapse. A federal health official is expected to announce in early June, 2012, whether people with cancer will be covered by an aid program for New Yorkers sickened by World Trade Center dust. An advisory committee recommended in March that the government open up the $4.3 billion program to people who developed cancers after being exposed to the toxic soot that fell on Manhattan when the towers collapsed. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — People who were stricken with cancer after being exposed to the toxic ash that exploded over Manhattan when the World Trade Center collapsed would qualify for free treatment of the disease and potentially hefty compensation payments under a rule proposed Friday by federal health officials.

After months of study, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said in an administrative filing that it favored a major expansion of an existing $4.3 billion 9/11 health program to include people with 50 types of cancer, covering 14 broad categories of the disease.

People with any of the cancers on the list could qualify for treatments and payments as long as they and their doctors make a plausible case that the disease was connected to the caustic dust.

The decision followed years of emotional lobbying by construction workers, firefighters, police officers, office cleaners, and many other people who fell ill in the decade after the terror attack, and were sure it had something to do with the many days they spent toiling in the gray soot.

“It’s amazing,” said Ernie Vallebuona, a former New York City police detective who Login to read more

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