Supporters Push Zadroga Bill, 9/11 First Responder Aid

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill, already passed by the House of Representatives, is currently in limbo, CNN reports. The news source explains that this bill, “named after a deceased New York Police Department detective who had worked in the toxic plume at ground zero -- seeks to provide free medical coverage for responders and survivors who were exposed to toxins after the attacks.” However, the news source explains supporters of the bill have found an ally in New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg.  He is adding his voice to those of 9/11 responders in calling for the Senate to debate and pass the bill before they adjourn their current session, CNN reports.  “The time for excuses is over,” announced Bloomberg on Monday, according to CNN. Although a procedural vote on Thursday failed to bring the bill to the Senate floor, CNN explains, Democratic lawmakers remained hopeful for “a Christmas miracle” which would allow them to gain enough bipartisan support to pass it. Changes to the original bill reduce the price from $7.4 billion to $6.2 billion, to be paid over 10 years, as well as altering the sources of the funding, the article explains. The price cut of the bill comes “after a court settlement that benefited some of the responders,” CNN reports. Firefighters, police officers, and many others were exposed to a wide variety of toxins in the aftermath of the attack, including asbestos particles, CNN reports. Furthermore, the news source reports that “In the years after the 2001 attacks, health experts have noted respiratory and mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, in those who engaged in ground zero rescue and cleanup efforts.” Republican Rep. Peter King sympathized with the responders, saying “There are men and women dying today.  We are absolutely obligated to pass this bill for them,” CNN reports. Many of the workers were not given proper protective gear and spent long periods of time exposed to clouds of toxic dust, which included large amounts of asbestos.  Inhalation of asbestos can cause a wide variety of respiratory problems, including asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer.  As mesothelioma can remain latent for a period of up to 50 years, it is only in the coming decades that we will see the true cost of heroism to the responders’ health. References: CNN Wire Staff. (December 20, 2010) “Bloomberg urges passage of 9/11 health bill.” Retrieved December 21, 2010 from CNN. Previous: Asbestos Scare Closes Miami Museum Next: Change to California Law Benefits Mesothelioma Plaintiffs