By Daniel Moritz-Rabson
Almost 10,000 people have been diagnosed with cancer tied to the toxic dust and smoke at Ground Zero.
Fifteen men who lived or worked around the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 terror attack have been diagnosed with breast cancer, the New York Post reported.
Five of those diagnosed are first responders, including two firefighters and an NYPD sergeant. An ironworker, a highway repairman, a student and others were also among those afflicted.
“On March 23, I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” 51-year-old triathlete John Mormondo said. “There is a very strong possibility this is linked to 9/11. There’s not a history of cancer in my family.”
Men comprise just one percent of all national breast cancer cases.
The Post article highlights the continuing health impact among those exposed to the wreckage of the attacks. Individuals around the rubble have suffered from panoply of conditions — including more than 50 cancers — linked to the asbestos, lead, mercury and jet fuel present at Ground Zero.
Almost 10,000 people have been diagnosed with cancer tied to the toxic dust and smoke that rose from the debris, according to the World Trade Center Health program. More than 1,700 people, including 420 who had cancer, have died.
Despite the visible and prevalent health effects among those near Ground Zero, the federal government has not unconditionally supported providing care to those who rushed to the scene after the attack.
President Barack Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provided health coverage to workers who helped with search and cleanup efforts after the attack, into law in 2011.
The bill faced delays in the Senate, with Republican lawmakers objecting to the $7.4 billion Democrats had hoped the bill would provide for a victim compensation fund and health care services.
The legislation expired on October 1, 2015, and a similar debate prevented its renewal. Some Republicans opposed the extension bill, which proposed to reopen the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund for five more years and prolong coverage for first responders another 75. Democrats publicly rebuked the delays, which Republicans said were due to the cost and the lengthy extension.
“These guys and women put their lives on the line literally on the line and now they are suffering from it and the thought that the government is hesitating to keep its commitment to them it is distressing and disturbing to a lot of them â it’s very disappointing because these are true patriots,” New York Representative Peter King told NBC News.
The Zadroga bill was renewed in December 2015.