9/11's delayed legacy: cancer for many of the rescue workers


A spate of cancer-related illnesses among New York's rescue services who worked at Ground Zero sparks fear of an epidemic
Ed Pilkington in New York
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 11 November 2009 14.36 GMT

A spate of recent deaths of New York police and fire officers who took part in the emergency operation at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks has heightened fears that it could be the start of a delayed epidemic of cancer-related illness.

Five firefighters and police officers, all of whom were involved in the rescue and clear-up at the site of the collapsed Twin Towers, have died of cancer in the past three months, the oldest being 44. Three died last month within a four-day period.

Those three were Robert Grossman, a Harlem-based police officer who spent several weeks at the emergency site and died of a brain tumour aged 41; fellow police officer Cory Diaz, 37; and firefighter Richard Mannetta, 44.

In addition, John McNamara, a 44-year-old firefighter, died in September; and Renee Dunbar, a police officer in her late 30s, died in August.

The cluster of cancer deaths comes as Congress is under pressure to pass legislation that would provide federal help to emergency workers who have contracted illnesses since 9/11. Campaigners hope that a bill will be put to the House of Representatives by the end of the year that would set up a $10bn (£6bn) national fund for hundreds of people who now have cancer, respiratory illnesses and other diseases that may be linked to their work at the World Trade Centre site.

Up to 70,000 people took part in the massive operation at Ground Zero, including police, firefighters and construction workers who came to New York voluntarily from all over the US. Many worked for months amid a toxic soup of dust and chemicals.

Amid the pollutants within the giant pile of 1.8m tons of debris and the surrounding air were 90,000 litres of jet fuel from the two stricken planes, about 1,000 tons of asbestos that was used in the construction of the Twin Towers, pulverised lead from computers, mercury and highly carcinogenic by-products from the burning of plastics and chlorinated chemicals.

No official tally is available for the number of those who have died as a result of the 9/11 clear-up. The New York state health department has recorded 817 deaths of emergency workers but it cannot confirm categorically how many of those were directly linked to the site.

Federal funds for ill emergency workers ran out in 2003 and, since then, the onus has fallen on cash-strapped New York city, which is facing up to 10,000 claims for compensation through the courts. Families of those who have died say that the burden should be shouldered by the nation as a whole.

Robert Grossman's father, Stephen, drew a parallel with the $3bn the federal government spent this year on buying up old cars under the "cash-for-clunkers" scheme. "They spent that, but they don't have a dime for people who volunteered after 9/11 and ended up giving their lives for their country."

The 911 Police Aid Foundation, a group run by and for sick police officers, says it is helping more than 100 officers who worked at Ground Zero and who now have cancer. The group is receiving new cases at a rate of about one a week, many of which are extremely rare at such young ages.

Michael Valentin, who volunteers for the group, spent about four months working around the pile of debris from the towers. He now has lymphatic tumours in his chest, as well as asbestos poisoning.

"We all have terminal illnesses, we are all going to die. We just want to help others by showing them that they are not alone," he said.

The bill currently before Congress, which is named after James Zadroga, a police officer who died in 2006, would provide for the health monitoring and treatment of an additional 15,000 emergency workers. Paradoxically, it would not cover cancer, which was not perceived as a priority at the time the legislation was drafted though numbers have escalated since then.

Claire Calladine, a campaigner who runs the organisation 9/11 Health Now, said the fear was that the recent rise in cancer cases was just the start.

"We have only seen the tip of the iceberg. How bad will it get – that is the big question."

On November 18th...

A bunch of responders are going down to D.C. to try and get them to pass H.R. 847.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? The facts speak for themselves.

Ask your rep to support the bill, just takes a couple minutes


These people sacrificed their health and lives, and they're dying


Only in America

I guess that's what happens when you use nano-thermite explosives to help bring down the 3 WTC buildings. For those who have not seen, check out the following scientific study by Jones, et al:


That's what happens...

When the public is lied to and told about how safe the conditions were in an effort to re-open Wall Street.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? The facts speak for themselves.

Particle Size

Could the nano-thermite material itself, be the cause of the cancers? The smaller particles might in theory, lodge themselves deeper into lung tissue and reek havoc. While aluminum and iron are relatively benign elements, nano sized particles might have a different pathological effect on cell membranes. More toxic elements, including barium, were also found in the dust samples.


I read somewhere that concrete dust is terrible for you because it is very alkaline and causes reactions in the lungs that can cause serious irritation of the tissue and eventually lung disease and cancer. Barium is known to depleat the effectiveness of the immune system, so having that in there along with other irritants or toxins could compound whatever potential problems there were in the first place. I doubt inhaling powdered aluminum and iron oxide is good for you, but the ratio of unexploded nano-thermite to concrete and steel dust has to be considered, and I definitely don't know for sure. I seem to recall a Richard Gage interview that stated 9 tons or so of unexploded nano-thermite in lower Manhattan. That is a hell of a lot of dust.

The love that you withhold is the pain that you carry

The bill has to include

Cancer illness.


Much of the cancer is likely from all the asbestos exposure. The towers were loaded with it.... Also concrete dust is very caustic (alkaline) with a pH of 12 or 13!

So yeah, these heroes are dying because they were lied to about the air being safe to breathe. And the reason why the air was so horribly UNSAFE to breathe is because these building didn't collapse as we were told-- they were exploded into toxic dust.

My comment is a question

or perhaps a call to action.

I have heard/read over an over again that almost all the 1st responders, police, firefighters at al know the truth about 911 but are afraid to say anything for fear of losing their jobs, etc.

What I'm now going to say, I say in all seriousness and with the deepest respect:

Michael Valentin states above, ""We all have terminal illnesses, we are all going to die. We just want to help others by showing them that they are not alone," he said."

Would it NOT be possible AND valuable to capture on videotape and/or otherwise get official statements from some of these heros, at this point in time?

Maybe they would feel that they have "nothing to lose" in being honest about what they saw, heard, experienced, know... Some, if not many, may want their deaths to mean something. larger. Aiding the cause of truth while sick, while alive, is to fight, in death, that/those which took their lives from them, from their families, from their work, from the world...

Even if there would be reasons why it couldn't be used right now, or for any number of years to come, 8 years have passed already. The next 8 will soon enough be gone, too.

Missing the chance to officially document statements from those who would wish to make them is, I believe, a terrible injustice, in and of itself.

It's a fact that people who are terminally ill wonder what they still have to offer the world and worry that they actually have nothing to offer any longer. Their health is wretched, they feel hopeless, worthless, and see no future. Let's allow them the opportunity to fight beside us now and into the beyond.

I hope that someone, who is in a better position to do so than I am, has already or soon will take up this important cause. Time may be a luxury for us but it isn't for them.



It appears that the first-responders have been ORDERED by their employer not to talk ..
Where would disobeying such order ,if given, leave them in regards to health-insurance ?
" Justice for Barry Jennings "