Cancer-stricken emergency workers who responded to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and cancer victims who resided in the area do not qualify for federal aid, according to a review by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
NIOSH concluded that "insufficient evidence exists at this time to propose a rule to add cancer, or a certain type of cancer," to the list of diseases that qualify for aid under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.
Noting that only one peer-review study has looked at the link between the cloud of toxins that spilled out of the collapsed towers and cancer, NIOSH decided that "these limitations in the exposure assessment literature make scientific analysis of a causal association between exposure and health effects, such as cancer, quite challenging."
The result is that 9/11 survivors, first responders, and residents near the towers who have been diagnosed with cancer will not receive any aid until at least late 2012, when the government will release another review. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand yesterday called on NIOSH to accelerate the review process, while Senator Chuck Schumer dismissed the findings as "premature," telling the AP, "So many people have gotten such rare cancers — and at young ages — that it seems obvious there must be a link."