Statement of Zadroga Act Authors on 9/11 Cancer Study

Sep 1, 2011 Issues: 911 Health
Press Contact: 
Joe Soldevere (212) 860-0606

New York, NY -- U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Peter King, authors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, today released a joint statement, below, in response to studies published in the Lancet this week indicating an elevated risk of melanoma, thyroid and prostate cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among firefighters who served at ground zero compared to the general population, and an overall increase in cancer among firefighters exposed to toxins at the World Trade Center site compared to firefighters who weren’t.  The only peer-reviewed study of possible 9/11-related cancers prior to this one was a small study showing a possible rise in multiple myeloma among 9/11 responders.

“Evidence of an increased risk of cancers among firefighters who served at ground zero underscores the severity of toxic exposures caused by 9/11, the full effects of which are still emerging 10 years after the attacks.  This is why we fought to pass the Zadroga Act, which provides long-term care for 9/11-related illnesses, as well as a process to provide coverage for additional diseases that medical science may link to the attacks,” said Maloney, Nadler, and King.

“We will be looking closely at the findings published in the Lancet and hope that Dr. Howard will consider as soon as possible adding coverage for the cancers discussed in the Lancet study, which the Zadroga Act empowers him to do.”

In August, the lawmakers wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to request that she appoint by early this month members of the Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee, a panel created under the Zadroga Act to review scientific and medical evidence and make recommendations to 9/11 Health Administrator Dr. John Howard on providing coverage for additional 9/11-related health conditions.  A copy of the lawmakers’ letter can be found below.

The Zadroga Act provides health care for those injured or exposed to toxins released by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, and reopens the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund to provide economic relief to those harmed by the attacks.Please click here for a brief fact sheet on the health care and compensation provisions of the law.

Background

Earlier this year, Maloney, Nadler, and King released documents from the Congressional Research Service to help answer questions that members of the media and the public may have about the new law.  Below are links to those documents:

•    A Q&A on eligibility for health and compensation benefits under the Zadroga Act;
•    A brief, plain-language summary of the law; and
•    A section-by-section summary of the law.

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August 4, 2011

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

We want to thank you for your efforts to implement the World Trade Center Health Program as provided under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. We know it was a difficult task and we appreciate the dedication of Health and Human Services, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Department of Justice staff to establish the program in a short six month period.

We write to you today to request that you quickly move forward with the formation of the Science/Technical Advisory Committee. NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard has begun the establishment process by requesting submissions for committee nominations. We understand that normally the approval procedures under the Federal Advisory Committee Act can take several months. Given expectations for further research on potential links to cancer and exposure to toxins at Ground Zero, we urge you to expedite the procedures so that the committee can quickly begin its task of reviewing scientific and medical evidence to make recommendations on additional health conditions and eligibility criteria for program inclusion. We hope that the committee can be in place by the tenth anniversary of the attack, next month.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and again thank you for your work to establish a strong World Trade Center Health Program.

Sincerely,

CAROLYN B. MALONEY         
JERROLD NADLER                   
PETER T. KING
Members of Congress