More 9/11 health care help urged after policeman's autopsy

More 9/11 health care help urged after policeman's autopsy

After a new autopsy linked James Zadroga's death in January this year to his exposure to 9/11 toxins, lawmakers have asked for more to be done for for the health of workers who were at 'ground zero' on September 11.

(Ground Zero = The area where the Twin Towers fell down in New York. Ground Zero is a term for the epicentre of a disaster - the center of the disaster area)

According to a coroner's report released on Tuesday, the policeman, James Zadroga, developed a respiratory disease. This disease was directly related to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (twin towers) on September 11, 2001. Mr. Zadroga died on January 5, 2006. This is the first autopsy to directly link a person's death with working at ground zero.

Mr. Zadroga died of respiratory failure. He had inflammation in his lung tissue which was the result of 'a history of exposure to toxic fumes and dust'.

Very soon after the 9/11 terrorist attack (a few weeks), Zadroga started having respiratory problems. His health gradually got worse from that point on.

The collapse of the Twin Towers created a massive dust cloud which was laden with asbestos. Human exposure to asbestos (in the air) is linked to a much higher risk of developing cancer, especially lung cancer, as well as other serious respiratory diseases.

As time passes by and more people become ill and die, it is going to be extremely difficult to know which people became sick as a result of being at ground zero on that date and days after it, and which people would have become sick anyway. The whole process will take many years.

The number of lawmakers demanding more help is set to grow after this autopsy. Rep. Carolyn Maloney( D-Manhattan), Rep.Vito Fossella, (R-Staten Island), and Rep.Christopher Shays, (R-Conn.) say more screening and help should be done of ground zero workers.

Senator Hillary Clinton has been asking for more federal funding for screening and treatment programs. Many wonder how it is possible that after over four years there is still not a thorough plan for ground zero workers who are ill or suffering as a consequence of being there.

There may be dozens of people who died because of exposure to the toxic cloud.


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