Today marks the eighth anniversary of 9/11, with vigils being held to remember
the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks. We look at a group of victims
that are often forgotten in the September 11 narrative: the thousands of rescue
workers who became sick after being exposed to contaminants at Ground Zero.
Hundreds have died. We speak to Joe Picurro, a New Jersey ironworker who worked
as a volunteer on the pile for twenty-eight days. He is now dying of lung disease.
We also speak with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who is co-sponsoring the 9/11
Health and Compensation Act, and Dr. Jacqueline Moline, director of the World
Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program at the Mount Sinai School
JUAN GONZALEZ: Vigils will be held today at the World Trade
Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania to remember the nearly 3,000 people
killed eight years ago in the September 11th attacks. In New York, moments of
silence will be observed at Ground Zero to mark the time when the hijacked planes
hit the World Trade Center and to mark when the towers fell. A reading of the
victims’ names will also be held at Ground Zero.
Today on Democracy Now! we look at a group of victims that are often forgotten
in the September 11th narrative: the many rescue workers who have since become
sick after being exposed to contaminants at Ground Zero. In a few minutes we’ll
be joined by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney… Continue reading
By Michael Mcauliff
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Friday, September 11th 2009, 3:15 PM
[See also, at NY Daily News: Lest
we Forget: Victims of 9/11” On the anniversary of Sept. 11, a look
back at those who were lost.]
A year ago, members of the Fealgood Foundation delivered that plea to the future President and other lawmakers in a DVD telling the tale of four ailing heroes.
They wanted to show Congress why it must pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, an $8.4 billion bill to help ailing Sept. 11 workers.
But the act has languished. What the responders have gotten are thank you’s, not just from the White House, but from members of Congress who also got copies of “Save the Brave.”
“One congressman’s office sent it back with a letter that said we’re sorry, we don’t accept gifts,” said John Feal, who lost half his foot at Ground Zero.
Feal got the note from the White House saying “Thank you for your kind gift” last week.
Quibell’s widow, Theresa, said the… Continue reading
September 29, 2009
By MICHAEL AMON
Photo credit: AP File | Firefighters make their way through rubble after terrorists crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center. (Sept. 11, 2001)
Thousands of sickened 9/11 recovery workers whose legal claims have been barred because of missed deadlines can now join a massive group suing New York City under a law signed by Gov. David A. Paterson, officials said.
The law immediately allows more than 3,000 Ground Zero workers to revive lawsuits that were thrown out by a federal judge in July on the technical ground that they were not filed within 90 days of the workers’ conditions being diagnosed.
It will also allow new lawsuits from an untold number of workers who never even filed claims.
One of them is Chris Klein, 38, a carpenter from Broad Channel, Queens, who worked for three months at Ground Zero in 2002 and is now on disability with a lung condition. Attorneys told him he waited too long after his diagnosis in 2004 and couldn’t file a lawsuit.
“I put my life on the line to help the city and the state, and we were lied to that the air was good to breathe,” said Klein, who said he also has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and chronic sinusitis.
Klein said he will now join a separate group of about 10,000 police, firefighters, construction workers and others who worked… Continue reading
Bring Bill HR 847: James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to the floor of Congress for a Vote Now
To: Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ms. Nancy Pelosi & All Congressional Representatives
We the undersigned urge Speaker of the House, Ms. Nancy Pelosi, to immediately commit to a firm date for bill HR 847: the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009 to be on the floor of the House of Representatives, for a vote.
Having lost over eight hundred September 11th first responders since that horrific day, we must act now as many, many more of our Nation’s Heroes are sick and dying due to the time they spent at the World Trade Center site.
We would like to to stress how important the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009 is to us, our community and America. It is time to get this bill to the House floor and passed so that those who put America first on September 11, 2001 are taken properly taken care of, now.
We want HR 847 passed by Thanksgiving so that we, as a country, can properly thank the thousands who have given so much of themselves, so selflessly. We have lost over eight hundred September 11th first responders since that horrific day, we MUST act now as many, many more of these men and women are sick and dying due to the time they spent at Ground Zero.
December 26, 2009
A Sept. 11 hero died of cancer on Christmas Day. Jim Ryan was on the front lines during 9/11, a firefighter who spent many weeks rummaging through the destruction that encompassed Ground Zero, only to succumb to pancreatic cancer, according to a report.
The fire department confirms that his sickness was 9/11-related. And now his family — his three children, wife and all the people who loved him — mourn the death of a hero.
“He was just really really great,” his grieving wife, Magda, told the Daily News.
Ryan, 48, was first diagnosed with cancer three years ago. He relapsed last year, reports the News.
A brave fighter until the end, Ryan desperately wanted to travel with his colleagues to Washington in November to campaign for the passage of legislation that would give $11 billion for those who contracted diseases on Sept. 11. That bill hasn’t yet passed.
“It’s about all the guys who are going to come after me,” Ryan, who wasn’t well enough to make the trip, told the News at the time. “And there’s going to be plenty of them.”
Ryan’s family spent a quiet Christmas Eve at home, and just before 2 a.m. on Christmas Day, the Long Island father’s teenage son realized he wasn’t breathing, reports the News.
By Michael McAuliff
January 28, 2010
The Obama administration stunned New York’s delegation yesterday, dropping
the bombshell news that it does not support funding the 9/11 health bill.
The state’s two senators and 14 House members met with Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius just hours before President Obama implored
in his speech to the nation for Congress to come together and deliver a government
that delivers on its promises to the American people.
So the legislators were floored to learn the Democratic administration does
not want to deliver for the tens of thousands of people who sacrificed after
9/11, and the untold numbers now getting sick.
“I was stunned — and very disappointed,” said Sen. Kirsten
Gillibrand, who like most of the other legislators had expected more of a discussion
on how to more forward.
“To say the least, I was flabbergasted,” said Staten Island Rep.
The 9/11 bill would spend about $11 billion over 30 years to care for the growing
numbers of people getting sick from their service at Ground Zero, and to compensate
families for their losses.
The legislators were shocked the idea was falling lower on the administration
priority list than other parts of the war on terror and financial bailouts.
“She made it clear that the administration does not support any kind
of funding mechanism that goes into the bill,” said Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel.
“I think it’s fiscal restraint… but you know what? They find
money for everything else,… Continue reading
By Michael Mcauliff
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
January 28, 2010
WASHINGTON – The White House revealed Thursday night it boosted funding for ailing 9/11 responders – pumping more money into the treatment program than ever before.
Team Obama disclosed the cash only after outraging New York lawmakers with the news that the administration won’t back a permanent plan to help the dying Ground Zero responders.
The White House confirmed it will more than double the budget for treating ill responders to $150 million in 2011.
The abrupt revelation came after the Daily News reported New York lawmakers were shocked Wednesday when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the administration does not support mandatory funding for the $11 billion permanent treatment plan.
“I was stunned – and very disappointed,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
“To say the least, I was flabbergasted,” said Staten Island Rep. Mike McMahon.
Family members also were infuriated by the lack of permanent support. “I thought that these people would be taken care of. I would have expected better from this administration,” said Lorie Van Auken.
The delegation hopes President Obama will reconsider and put victims of the terror strike on a footing close to wounded soldiers, perhaps even funding the 9/11 health bill with the military.
“We are focused on strengthening the World Trade Center health program and providing needed resources through the budget,” White House spokeswoman Moira Mack said.
New York legislators were thrilled to learn of the one-year funding boost.
“I am… Continue reading
February 28, 2010
by Alison Gendar
New York Daily News
A lawyer in two Ground Zero sickness cases green-lighted for trial says he has a smoking gun: buried city documents that prove firefighters should have gotten respirators.
The papers emerged in a veritable mountain of files the city turned over to workers who believe they were sickened by toxins after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Lawyer Andrew Carboy, whose firm represents more than 600 firefighters, said the FDNY had rules on the book requiring Bravest be equipped with respirators before Sept. 11.
But memos showing that weren’t handed over until this summer – in a data dump of 3 million documents – five years after the legal battle began. “They provide everyone with helmets, with bunker gear, with [air] packs. They could have done the same with respirators, and they withheld the documents saying they had a program to do it,” Carboy said.
Carboy’s firm represents Firefighters Frank Malone and the late Raymond Hauber, whose cases are among a dozen picked to go to trial, starting in May.
Four were chosen from more than 9,000 by a federal judge, four by the city, and four by plaintiffs’ lawyers. More than $1 billion in damages hinge on the outcome.
To show the city is liable, Carboy plans to wield memos about the FDNY’s “respiratory protection program,” which was supposed to provide respirators for “reasonably foreseeable emergency situations” like building collapses.
The FDNY didn’t follow its own guidelines and had only 600 respirators… Continue reading
March 12, 2010
New York City officials have agreed to pay up to 657.5m US dollars
(437m sterling) to thousands of rescue and clean-up workers after 9/11.
The settlement would compensate more than 10,000 plaintiffs who say they were
made sick by dust at the Ground Zero site of the attacks.
At least 95% of the plaintiffs must approve the deal for it to take effect.
The money would come from a federally financed insurance fund of almost $1bn
that the city controls.
The toxic cloud from the collapsed World Trade Center towers contained particles
of asbestos, lead, glass and cement.
A claims adjudicator, chosen by the lawyers involved in the case, would decide
on the validity of each plaintiff’s claim and how much compensation they were
The agreement follows a long battle in the courts, but must still be approved
by a judge and agreed to by the claimants.
The announcement was made on Thursday evening by the World Trade Center Captive
Insurance Company, which was set up to handle the claims of those injured in
the rescue effort.
In a statement, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the settlement “a
fair and reasonable resolution to a complex set of circumstances”.
Some workers are expected to receive payments of only a few thousand dollars,
while others could be in line to get more than $1m, depending on their injuries.
The BBC’s Adam Brookes, in Washington, says the agreement means that the long-running… Continue reading
By Mireya Navarro
New York Times
Sgt. Dawn Sorrento says she looks on the years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as a blur of doctor’s visits, ambushes by illnesses she had never heard of and growing resentment toward the city that challenged her injury claims.
[RELATED: Ground Zero Workers Reach Deal Over Claims (March 12, 2010)]
Yet on Friday, Sergeant Sorrento, a police officer who is among some 10,000 rescue and cleanup workers at ground zero who sued the city for health damages, felt a grim sort of satisfaction. She had expected her case to be among the first to go to trial this spring; instead, both sides announced a legal settlement of up to $657.5 million Thursday night.
“It’s nice that someone took responsibility, finally,” said Sergeant Sorrento, 43, who helped coordinate the movement of cranes, dignitaries and cadaver-hunting dogs in and out of ground zero in September 2001. “The city finally acknowledges that 9/11 diseases do exist and that people are suffering.”
Officials cast the settlement as righting a historic wrong on Friday and predicted that it would assure speedy and just compensation to the workers, who have waited more than six years for a legal resolution. But significant hurdles remain.
Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, of the United States District Court in Manhattan, has made clear that he intends to play a role in assuring that individuals are compensated fairly.
At a hearing on Friday, Judge Hellerstein said he would take a week to review the terms of the agreement and convene again next Friday to give his “initial impressions” and to hear from interested parties, including plaintiffs.…Continue reading
Orders Renegotiation of Settlement for People Sickened by Dust from
World Trade Center; Says $657M Insufficient
March 19, 2010
A federal judge on Friday rejected a legal settlement of more than a half-billion
dollars for people sickened by ash and dust from the World Trade Center, saying
the deal to compensate 10,000 police officers, firefighters and other laborers
didn’t contain enough money for the workers.
“In my judgment, this settlement is not enough,” said U.S. District Judge Alvin
The judge also said he was concerned too much of the deal would be eaten up
by legal fees and that ground zero responders were going to be pressured into
signing on before they knew how much they stood to receive.
CBSNews.com: In 9/11’s Wake, Anguish and Anger
Ground Zero Health Crisis
Section: September 11, 2001 – Eight Years Later
The settlement proposal would have given the workers $575 million to $657 million,
but each person’s amount was based on a complicated point system that would
give some workers only a few thousand dollars while others might qualify for
$1 million or more.
A third or more of the amount set aside for the workers was expected to go to
their lawyers. Some plaintiffs had agreed at the start of the case to give as
much as 40 percent of any judgment to cover fees and expenses.
Voices of Sick 9/11 Responders
Cancer Kills 9/11 Firefighter
Under the terms of the deal, workers were given just… Continue reading
Study Finds Rescue Workers from Sept. 11 Had Lung Problems Seven Years Later
By Lauren Cox,
ABC News Medical Unit
April 7, 2010
More than seven years after the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, rescue workers still had trouble breathing after
they inhaled from the cloud of dust that enveloped southern Manhattan, a new
[See video available at source, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Asthma/firefighters-911-lung-problems-study-finds/story?id=10313156
, “Study shows no recovery for 9/11 rescue workers who suffered acute lung damage”.
Doctors conducted a seven-year study of members of the New York City Fire Department who responded to the World Trade Center attacks between Sept. 11 and Sept. 24, 2001. The researchers were able to include 91 percent of the responding workers — a total of 10,870 firefighters and 1,911 EMS workers.
By 2008, the rescuers who had significant declines in lung function a year after the attack had still not recovered, and the recorded drop in lung function was about 12 times the rate seen in normal aging. The research was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Exposed people want to have answers. Not just for themselves but for entire group,” said Dr. David Prezant, senior author of the study and Chief Medical Officer of the Office of Medical Affairs, for the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). “I was at 9/11 and was exposed myself.”
Prezant teamed up… Continue reading
May 19, 2010
The U.S. government suppressed health information after 9/11. For example, as Newsday noted in 2003:
In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, the White House instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to give the public misleading information, telling New Yorkers it was safe to breathe when reliable information on air quality was not available.
That finding is included in a report released Friday by the Office of the Inspector General of the EPA.
The same thing appears to be happening in connection with the Gulf oil spill.
Specifically, marine toxicologist Ricki Ott writes:
… Continue reading
Local fishermen hired to work on BP’s uncontrolled oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico are scared and confused. Fishermen here and in other small communities dotting the southern marshes and swamplands of Barataria Bay are getting sick from the working on the cleanup, yet BP is assuring them they don’t need respirators or other special protection from the crude oil, strong hydrocarbon vapors, or chemical dispersants being sprayed in massive quantities on the oil slick.
Fishermen have never seen the results from the air-quality monitoring patches some of them wear on their rain gear when they are out booming and skimming the giant oil slick. However, more and more fishermen are suffering from bad headaches, burning eyes, persistent coughs, sore throats, stuffy sinuses, nausea, and dizziness.
By Meghan Neal
Downtown Express – Volume 23, Number 3 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 28 – June 3, 2010
U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney and Jerry Nadler paid a visit to ground zero on Sunday to highlight a 9/11 health care bill that has been dragging through Congress for nearly nine years. The bill cleared a huge hurdle on Tuesday when it passed its final committee vote, sending it to the house floor.
“It’s a difficult bill, a complicated bill, a costly bill,” said Maloney. The legislation would provide $11 billion in federal funds toward health care and compensation for first responders and survivors who are sick as a result of toxins left in the air after the 9/11 attacks.
Maloney and Nadler were joined by a group of the bill’s supporters: police, firefighters, 9/11 first responders currently suffering from health problems, members of the New York delegation and Lower Manhattan residents.
“Every day another floor, another piece of steel goes into reconstructing ground zero, and yet we still haven’t found a way to provide health care,” Rep. Anthony Weiner said at the event. “We’ve waited far, far too long.”
Now the bill is one step closer to becoming law. Having passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday, it will be sent to the floor of congress for a vote,… Continue reading
BY Michael Mcauliff
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
July 28, 2010
WASHINGTON – The House votes Wednesday or Thursday for the first time ever on a bill to care for the heroes and victims of Sept. 11, 2001 – and it’s likely to fail.
That’s because Democratic House leaders decided Tuesday to push ahead with the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act under a rule that requires two-thirds approval to pass.
Many Republicans are concerned about the $10.5 billion price tag, and many don’t like the way it’s paid for.
News of the scheme immediately alarmed 9/11 responders.
“Whoever votes ‘No’ tomorrow should go to jail for manslaughter,” said John Feal, who lost half his foot at Ground Zero in the cleanup.
Feal thinks House leaders should have found a way to move the bill in the regular way, needing just a simple majority.
“They’ll all go home and lick their wounds after the vote, but 9/11 responders are the ones who are going to suffer without health care after nine years,” Feal said.
Sources told the Daily News that Democrats feared Republicans would attach toxic changes in a simple majority vote. No such tinkering is allowed under the two-thirds rule.
New York’s legislators were still holding out hope they would prevail.
“Every time we had a vote on this, we did much better than people thought,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn/Queens).
And Republicans who oppose the bill can be cast in a politically poisonous light, Democrats said, noting the… Continue reading
New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is plainly fired up and ready to go. In a losing battle to secure passage of a bill to fund health care and compensation for ill 9/11 rescue workers, he unleashed a tirade against what he called unprincipled GOP opponents of the measure. Watch his outburst, which concluded in him smashing down the House rostrum microphone:
The House voted down the bill, which would have provided $3.2 billion over the next 10 years to fund free health care for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who have fallen ill from toxic smoke and debris they breathed at the World Trade Center site. The bill would have also provided $4.2 billion in compensation over that same span. The legislation proposed to pay for the benefits by closing a tax loophole on foreign subsidiaries that do business in the United States.
The House Democratic leadership employed an arcane procedural maneuver to suspend the rules before consideration of the bill (titled the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act). Democrats reportedly used the gambit to prevent House Republicans from swamping the otherwise popular measure with what Democrats called excessively partisan amendments. But in order for the bill to pass in this form, it needed a two-thirds majority. The final tally was 255 for it (12 of them Republicans), and 159 against (four of them Democrats).
Some GOP opponents painted it as a “slush… Continue reading
August 06, 2010
RT filmed this emotional footage of 9/11 first responders pouring their hearts out at a speech just blocks away from where the twin towers fell. The rally was in response to Congress defeating a federal bill that would have provided billions of dollars in health care for those sickened by toxins released by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers Sept. 11, 2001.
They passed symbolic legislation to honor first reponders:
That the House of Representatives supports first responders in the United States in their efforts to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters, and affirms the goals and ideals of National First Responder Appreciation Day to honor and celebrate the contributions and sacrifices made by all first responders in the United States.
And yet, first responders have had to fight for medical help for more than a decade: