UPDATE: On Sept. 29, the House of Representatives passed the 9-11 health bill by a vote of 268-160. We will be urging the Senate to take action soon on the bill.
AALDEF calls for passage of the Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act, which will address the health care concerns of the many individuals, families, students and workers who were at or near the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2001. Proposed 9-11 health care legislation, placed on the Congressional backburner for many years, is a national issue that affects first responders from every state in the union who assisted in the rescue and recovery efforts, as well as current and former residents of Lower Manhattan, who now live in more than 23 states across the nation.
Since September 11th, AALDEF has worked with clients, community organizations, government agencies, hospitals, medical researchers, and elected officials to create and fund clinical programs that will treat, track, and study the environmental health impacts affecting thousands of people living, working or attending school in Lower Manhattan. (See AALDEF’s testimony and statements on 9-11 health issues, e.g., </press-release/911-disaster-response/> and <(/uploads/pdf/Outlook-2007-summer.pdf)> (at page 11).
Initially, community residents and their families in Chinatown and the Lower East Side were not included in these programs. However, our community came together to fight for clinical programs treating residents in all Lower Manhattan neighborhoods and in parts of Brooklyn that were once covered with toxic dust and may still be contaminated with 9-11 fallout. A congressional vote on the House (H.R. 847) and Senate (S.1334) bills to sustain these treatment and monitoring programs for 10 years is needed immediately. These bills will not add to the federal deficit or take federal funds away from the recently enacted national health care reform law.
For the official summaries of H.R. 847 and S. 1334, go to https://thomas.loc.gov/.
We are asking individuals to write, call or fax the Democratic Majority Leadership in the House and the Senate to encourage them to schedule a vote on this legislation as soon as possible:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
For more information, contact AALDEF Senior Staff Attorney Stanley Mark at 212.966.5932 x204.
Here is a sample letter that can be faxed or e-mailed:
9/11 Survivors & Responders Have Waited Long Enough: Pass & Sign Into Law H.R.847/S.1334 Now
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid:
I thank you for your strong leadership and support for the 9/11 Health & Compensation Act (H.R.847/S.1334). As this critical legislation moves forward, I seek your firm commitment to securing its passage undiminished in its scope and quality, and with the strongest possible protections for the survivors of 9/11.
9/11 was an attack on our nation that targeted civilians. It is therefore imperative that our federal government provide WTC-specialized care for all who are sick as a result of the disaster including survivors who lived, worked, or attended school in Lower Manhattan or who were simply visiting the area (and who now reside in more than 23 states).
When the WTC was destroyed, an estimated 1 million tons of pulverized dust containing lead, asbestos and a long list of hazardous substances were released into a densely populated urban area, penetrating area buildings. Fires at Ground Zero burned steadily for over four months, creating a toxic cloud which hung over Lower Manhattan neighborhoods, close to the WTC site and farther away. In addition, many who lived, worked, or attended school in Lower Manhattan at the time of the attacks have become ill as a direct result of the federal government’s false assurances that “the air is safe” and its failure to provide proper environmental cleanup for the neighborhoods contaminated in the attack.
For the thousands of heroic 9/11 responders and survivors who are already ill, and for those who may develop WTC-related illnesses in the future, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act creates a desperately-needed, federally-funded program that will provide health care to screen, track and treat 9/11-related illnesses.
Nine years after the attacks, I urge you to help make this just federal health response to 9/11 a reality.