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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

Advocates Cite Research Exploring the Correlation Between 9/11 First-Responders and Health Effects to Ensure WTC Health Program is Funded

May 25, 2022 in ,

Recent research studies explore 9/11 first-responders’ long-term mental and physical health issues, including the risk of respiratory diseases and suicidal ideation related to WTC Disaster Site exposure. Advocates for extending the James Zadroga Act cite many of these recent studies and more to ensure the World Trade Center Health Program is fully funded for victims of 9/11-related illnesses. 


Below, the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) attorneys at SPBMCC provide an overview of several recent studies that shed light on the long-term, chronic impact of 9/11 on first-responders.



Recent Studies Examine Connection Between 9/11 First-Responders and Suicidal Ideation


A recent study titled “Prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation in World Trade Center responders: Results from a population-based health monitoring cohort” explored the prevalence of suicidal ideation (SI) in World Trade Center first-responders, as it is a potential risk factor for suicide among disaster responders. The study ultimately found that “a total 12.5% of non-traditional and 2.2% of police WTC responders reported SI,” and that “depression, functional impairment, alcohol use problems, and lower family support while working at the WTC site were associated with SI in both groups of responders.”


The study’s findings suggest a need for increased intervention for 9/11 first-responders who are dealing with feelings of hopelessness, depression, guilt, shame, or feelings of a foreshortened future, as these early symptoms of suicidal ideation could be a risk factor for suicide.


Research Finds That PTSD in Hispanic First-Responders is Influenced By Level of Acculturation


Further, a recent study explored the correlation between Hispanic first-responders and a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, and how acculturation influenced the relationship between coping and PTSD in Hispanic 9/11 first responders. The research found that “higher acculturation is associated with the use of substances, venting, and humor to cope, while lower acculturation is associated with the use of active coping and self-distraction in this sample.” 


The research also found that less acculturated responders were more likely to suffer from severe PTSD; in addition, Hispanics who were more accultured, but use substances to cope, had more severe PTSD than the less acculturated first-responders who did not use substances.


This study, titled “’Acculturation, coping, and PTSD in Hispanic 9/11 rescue and recovery workers’: Correction” reported an error in the original study’s publication, which was missing an author’s note on the acknowledgment of funding by the CDC and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


New Studies Suggest More Research is Needed To Understand Full Impact of 9/11-Related Illnesses


In a recent study, “Cancer risk among World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers: A review,” the author references several additional studies that indicate that, among combined groups of WTC-exposed rescue and recovery worker cohorts, WTC exposure was related to an increased risk of cutaneous melanoma and tonsil cancer. 


It references another study that found that “WTC-exposed rescue and recovery workers who are enrolled in the federally funded medical monitoring and treatment program experienced improved survival post-cancer diagnosis compared with New York state patients with cancer.”


Ultimately, these cohort studies provide a better view of the long-term impacts of WTC exposure and its full effect on rates of cancer and illness. They also suggest a more in-depth clinical analysis of the long-term health effects of exposure to Ground Zero is needed to understand their full impact. 


These Recent Studies are Among Citations Used By Advocates to Extend James Zadroga Act


In addition to other sources, these recent studies are being cited by 9/11-related illness victim advocates—they are using these findings to argue for more federal funding from the World Trade Center Health Program.


An NBC News article published on March 22nd reported that “A bipartisan group of House members from New York said in a letter sent to federal administrators on Tuesday that a health care program for some 9/11 first responders and survivors has “consistently struggled,” and asked for details about a multimillion-dollar contract awarded to a new company to manage it.”


Last September, an NBC News investigation covered the concerns of around two dozen 9/11 first responders and survivors who said that the World Trade Center Health Program was failing to cover their medical bills. They also cited receiving inadequate treatment options and that the WTC Health Program neglected to address the needs of PTSD sufferers.


VCF Attorneys at SPBMCC Have Decades of Experience Advocating for 9/11-Related Illness Victims


The VCF team at SPBMCC has handled more than 4,000 claims under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and successfully recovered over $1 billion for our VCF clients. For decades, our attorneys have been leading the charge for ensuring 9/11 victims and their families receive the compensation and support they deserve. It is our mission to not only provide dedicated representation for victims but to keep our community informed on the latest research on 9/11-related illnesses. If you were a first-responder assisting in the rescue and recovery efforts of 9/11 and believe you may be suffering from an illness, as a result, Contact us today at 800-962-9954 for a free consultation about your 911 VCF case.

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