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Survivors of the September 11th attacks can now breathe a little easier. Just in time for the anniversary of the tragedy, the World Trade Center Health Program announced that it will soon provide coverage for workers and victims who now have cancer as a result of inhaling toxic dust from the wreckage. The program initially began when police detective James Zadroga died at age 34 due to exposure to toxic dust from Ground Zero, but the list of illnesses covered under the act did not previously include cancer.

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The Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act did not cover cancer before because the World Trade Center Health Program did not find a link between cancer and the toxic dust from the wreckage. It therefore denied any claims for compensation filed by victims, volunteers and workers.

The rubble from the World Trade Center included harmful substances like asbestos lead, and calcium carbonate, in addition to particles of glass, metal and other construction materials that were released into the air. Exposure to any of these substances can cause severe health risks, including cancer when they are breathed in over a period of time – which is the case for local residents and rescue workers.

Over the years, over 50,000 people suffering from symptons of these substances have spoken up, and created a petition that was submitted through the New York Congressional Delegation. The new coverage will be effective 30 days after it is made official in the Federal Register.

Via ABC News

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