As the whole world paid homage to 9/11 victims, doctors are becoming more and more concerned on the aftermath of the tragic event. The commemoration of the 15th year since 9/11 is the perfect moment to draw attention on mesothelioma cancer.
Most people have no idea what mesothelioma cancer is and why it has to do with 9/11, but doctors, especially those who treated the survivors of that day know the link between the two. When the two towers collapsed, they created a huge cloud, which was filled with lots of toxins, one of them being asbestos. This is a toxic compound which leads to respiratory issues and cancer. It was used for pretty much every household item in the Edwardian era. Despite researchers found about its toxicity level, asbestos was completely banned in 1999. This means the Twin Towers were loaded with: more than 400 tons of asbestos were released in the air when they collapsed.
As doctors feared, the number of patients who came to hospital presenting mesothelioma symptoms increased after 2011, the number being expected to raise even more. The latency period for mesothelioma is between 20 to 50 years, so doctors expect to see a raise in the number of patients. The current cancer registries of WTC Health Program include cleanup workers, volunteers and emergency workers who helped save lives after the collapse. People who were working or living near the towers are also on the lists.
The WTC Health Program covers diseases and conditions due to the toxic cloud raised from the collapse of the two towers. To this point, about 75,000 people had received medical care for ailments due to working in the toxic cloud. Respiratory diseases are at the top of the list, as well as cancers of all types. As time goes by and people forget about the 9/11 attack, the interest in supporting the victims and their families is diminishing.
WTC Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund are part of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which was reauthorized by Obama in 2015, when it was allowed another $8 billions and it was extended until 2090, so it can provide coverage for all the people involved in the tragic event.
Many of the rescue workers who struggled to save people trapped in the debris worked day and night on-site and wore no protection equipment. This means they were exposed to asbestos, as well as lots of other toxic compounds. Any of them know they are going to develop fatal conditions, like cancer.
In the case of mesothelioma, the effects are going to be seen around the year 2030. This is because the mesothelium, the membrane which surrounds our organs, is more resistant than our lungs, for example. Also, the latent period for some diseases is as long as 50 years.