Federal aid won’t cover 9/11-related cancer

New Yorkers in the area during the World Trade Center attacks now suffering from cancer will not be covered under federal aid, the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health reported Tuesday.

NIOSH says that there is “insufficient evidence” to note a correlation between the September 11 and types of cancer, despite an influx in disease cases among first responders and Manhattan residents.

Senator Chuck Schumer tells The Associated Press that the findings are premature. “So many people have gotten such rare cancers — and at young ages — that it seems obvious there must be a link,” Schumer says.

In a release issued yesterday by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC quotes WTC Administration John Howard, M.D as saying that there is not an absence of a casual association between cancers and the exposure of the 9/11 aftermath. At this time, however, a casual association is not found in published scientific and medical materials, he says. As a result, “determination cannot be made to propose a rule to add cancer, or a type of cancer, to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions at this time,” reads the press release.

“As new research and findings are released, we will continue to do periodic reviews of cancer for the World Trade Center Health Program,” adds Dr. Howard.

“Every time we bury a New York City firefighter: Cancer. Cancer. Cancer,” says Kenneth Specht to the Daily News. Specht himself is a firefighter who is fighting a battle with thyroid cancer.

“How can that not be included? It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

The DCD notes that data will be reviewed once again next year, signaling hope for those who suffer from various cancers. First responders and area residents have been lobbying for federal assistance for their disease but, even ten years after 9/11, must continue without aid.

Several congressmen involved in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act responded to the news out of NIOSH by saying, “We are confident that studies on the effects of the toxins at ground zero . . . will ultimately provide the scientific evidence that Dr. Howard needs to make this determination. Thankfully, we know that today’s announcement is not the last word on the inclusion of cancers in the program.”

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