Feds to Cover Cancer of 9/11 Responders

US adds 50 types despite lack of direct evidence

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 10, 2012 5:52 PM CDT | Updated Sep 10, 2012 6:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – On the eve of 9/11's anniversary, the federal government has added 50 kinds of cancer to the list of ailments covered by the Twin Towers health program, the AP reports. The National Institute for Occupational Safety made the announcement today after years of lobbying by 9/11 first responders, office cleaners, and construction workers who inhaled the World Trade Center's toxic ashes. Still, there is no direct evidence of the building's remains causing cancer.

Yet experts have testified that heavy exposure to carcinogens in the soot and ash could cause the disease, and stories abound of first responders who came down with cancer. Mayor Bloomberg joined the cry of politicians hailing the move, saying that "those who have become ill due to the heinous attacks on 9/11 get the medical care they need and deserve." However, some are concerned that the program's $4.3 billion budget will be strained by the addition, which came with no extra funding.

In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, a shell of what was once part the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center rises above the rubble after both towers were destroyed in the terrorist attacks.
In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, a shell of what was once part the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center rises above the rubble after both towers were destroyed in the terrorist attacks.   (AP Photo/Shawn Baldwin, File)
In this Oct. 11, 2001 file photo, firefighters make their way over the ruins and through clouds of smoke at the World Trade Center in New York.
In this Oct. 11, 2001 file photo, firefighters make their way over the ruins and through clouds of smoke at the World Trade Center in New York.   (AP Photo/Stan Honda, Pool, File)
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