LOWER MANHATTAN — Thousands of 9/11 first responders who are suffering from cancer will soon find out if they will receive compensation from the federal government.
As soon as this week, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is set to announce which cancers, if any, will be covered under the Zadroga Act's $2.8 billion Victim Compensation Fund, a spokeswoman said Monday.
The fund does not currently cover cancer, which means that the many firefighters, police officers, construction workers and Downtown residents who have developed cancer over the past 10 years have not received any money from the federal government.
If Dr. John Howard, director of NIOSH, decides to include cancer in the fund, those who are sick would be eligible to be reimbursed for their treatment, lost wages and pain and suffering.
After reviewing studies linking cancer to 9/11 toxins, a medical advisory panel recommended in March that the Zadroga Act cover many cancers, including cancers affecting the respiratory and digestive systems, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, eye cancer, oral cavity cancer, urinary tract cancer, mesothelioma, melanoma, leukemia, lymphoma, soft tissue sarcomas and all childhood and rare cancers.
The panel recommended against including brain, pancreatic and prostate cancer, saying there was not enough evidence connecting them to 9/11.
Howard is currently reviewing the panel's recommendation, along with research from the past 10 years, and is set to announce a decision soon.