Mesothelioma: 9/11?s Silent Killer

Mesothelioma: 9/11?s Silent Killer

On September 11, 2001, 2,602 people died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Thousands more may die a slow and painful death caused by exposure to asbestos released in the collapse of the towers. Immediately after the attacks over 100,000 people were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos and over 670,000 New Yorkers may still be at risk for developing environmental illness.

Mesothelioma is cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The symptoms of mesothelioma can take 10 to 50 years to appear, but once the disease is diagnosed it progresses rapidly and most patients have less than a year to live. Asbestos levels after the 9/11 attacks were so extreme that symptoms have appeared as soon as two years after exposure.

The danger could have been minimized

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) repeatedly tried to issue warnings about the threat of airborne contaminants. These warnings would have given emergency workers and others the chance to protect themselves from airborne contaminants. The warnings were removed from the EPA press releases by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In April, 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a decision supporting the Council’s actions.

First responder first to die

Emergency responder Deborah Reeve developed symptoms of asbestos related illness in 2003 and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2004. While she was save the lives of others during the aftermath of 9/11 she was unknowingly being exposed to massive amounts of asbestos which, leading to her own death in 2006. In the words of her husband David, “(Deborah) got killed on September 11, and she didn’t die until March 15, 2006. She got killed and didn’t know.”

The evidence was hiding in a shirt

Yehuda Kaploun worked at ground zero for about 48 hours immediately after the collapse. He saved the shirt he was wearing to honor the fallen of 9/11. In April, 2006, the New York Post reported that when a portion of that shirt was analyzed, it was found to contain 93,000 times the amount of chrysotile asbestos normally found in American cities.

The World Trade Center Cough

You may not have heard about mesothelioma in connection with 9/11, but you probably have heard of “the World Trade Center cough.” In April, 2007, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 62% of those caught in the dust cloud, and 46% of those not caught in the cloud but living or working in the area now suffer from respiratory problems. The Mount Sinai Medical Center’s World Trade Center health study found that 85% of its 70,000 participants suffer from respiratory problems. First responders have been suffering respiratory problems since immediately after the attacks.

Who may be affected?

First responders are among those known to be adversely affected, but they are not the only ones. Anyone who was in the area during and after the collapse of the towers may have been exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. The contamination lasted for weeks or months after the collapse. Even as tests were showing enormous amounts of asbestos in the air, officials were urging the public to return to the downtown area. People who lived and worked in the area, children going to school in the area, and anyone who happened to pass through, may have been affected. Because the disease can take up to 50 years after exposure to develop, it will be decades before we really know how many people were really killed by the events of 9/11 and the government’s cover-up of the contamination.

If you live in Mobile, Alabama, or anywhere on the Mississippi or Alabama Gulf Coast, and believe that you or a loved one has become ill because of asbestos exposure, please contact the Alabama Mesothelioma lawyers at The Injury Lawyers, PC.


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