NY Personal Injury Attorney Michael Barasch Testifies That Cancer Should Be Covered Under the WTC Zadroga Fund Enabling Sick Ground Zero Workers to Receive Compensation

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WTC lawyer and Zadroga family attorney Michael Barasch of Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson testified Feb. 16 on behalf of 9/11 first responders requesting that cancer be covered under the Zadroga Fund allowing certain cancer victims be treated and compensated by the new VCF—WTC Scientific panel agreed.

New York personal injury attorney Michael Barasch

New York personal injury attorney Michael Barasch

I submit that for the rescue workers who were at Ground Zero, you immediately recommend that respiratory cancers, blood cancers, and thyroid and prostate cancers be recognized as being caused by toxic exposure.

NY personal injury lawyer Michael Barasch of Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson testified before the World Trade Center Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) Feb. 16 on behalf of scores of his law firm’s clients who have been diagnosed with WTC-related cancers. Barasch was accompanied by three of the firm’s FDNY clients who contracted cancer after exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.

As a result of his and other testimony, the advisory panel unanimously voted to recommend that some cancers be officially recognized. The committee's recommendations for including some cancers will now be submitted to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) by the April 2 deadline. If NIOSH accepts these recommendations, health care and compensation will be available to those afflicted.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named for one of Barasch McGarry's clients, is a $2.76 billion aid program providing compensation to Ground Zero workers who have developed specific respiratory illnesses as a result of their exposure to toxins. Growing evidence shows that certain cancers were also caused by these toxins, but victims are currently unable to receive treatment and apply for compensation to the Zadroga Fund, since cancer diagnoses are not on the list of eligible illnesses, Barasch said.
"I submit that for the rescue workers who were at Ground Zero, you immediately recommend that respiratory cancers, blood cancers, and thyroid and prostate cancers be recognized as being caused by toxic exposure," Barasch told STAC members.

Barasch went on to introduce the three FDNY firefighters who accompanied him to the hearing, all of whom were healthy, non-smokers before 9/11:

  • A 53 year old firefighter from Brooklyn – Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, along with chronic bronchitis
  • A 57 year old firefighter from Manhattan – Diagnosed with leukemia and severe GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease)
  • A 54 year old firefighter from Staten Island– Diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread to his brain and spine, giving him a two percent chance of surviving five years

Barasch explained that there are already two respected studies drawing strong correlations between exposure to Ground Zero toxic dust and a rise in cancer among first responders compared to those who did not participate in the rescue.
Urging the panel to act quickly, Barasch said, "While admittedly there is not yet 100% certainty, there is now a high degree of medical certainty that toxic dust exposure has and/or will cause cancer. To wait another five years for indisputable proof of a causal connection means that many of the rescue workers will not live to see any benefit from what seems to be a foregone and logical conclusion."

The September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) was originally designed to help those injured at the World Trade Center buildings within 72 hours of the 9/11 attacks. On Oct, 3, 2010 the VCF officially reopened and expanded to include victims who contracted illnesses years later.

About Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson
The law firm of Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson represented more than 1,500 firemen and other Ground Zero workers who filed claims with the original VCF. The firm currently represents more than 2,000 first responders with pending Zadroga Fund claims, Barasch noted.

The NY personal injury law firm of Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson is one of New York's most prominent firms concentrating in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and firefighter rights. Best known as the firm that represented James Zadroga in his fight to receive compensation for the respiratory disease he contracted as a result of his work at Ground Zero and for its efforts lobbying Congress to pass the Zadroga VCF Act, the firm enjoys an outstanding reputation.

Barasch McGarry accident lawyers represent seriously injured victims from all types of accidents. The firm recovered nearly $500 million on behalf of injured and deceased rescue workers from the first Victim Compensation Fund. They have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of injured clients at trials and in settlements.
For more information, see the firm’s website at http://www.personalinjuryjustice.com/

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