Statement by 911 Health Watch’s Board of Directors– Help Remember All the Victims of 9/11
Below is a Statement by 911 Health Watch’s Board of Directors
Help Remember All the Victims of 9/11
In September we will mark the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11. Here in New York, the names of those killed in the attacks will be read aloud by their family members, friends, and coworkers. Across the country, Americans will gather at memorials to honor the memories of those who died.
As a nation we resolved to never forget the attacks. But the truth is, we haven’t entirely kept that promise. What many Americans may not know is that as the nation recovered from 9/11, a public health disaster was just beginning to unfold. Thousands are sick because of the attack as well as the rescue and recovery operations. Our organization, 9/11 Health Watch, is dedicated to helping these Americans. This September, we are asking you to remember all the victims of 9/11 – those who lost their lives on that terrible day and the thousands of living victims who are sick and those that are dying from their injuries.
After 9/11, Americans from all 50 states rushed to Ground Zero to help in any way they could. Hundreds of thousands of brave men and women risked their lives to help others, working in extremely hazardous conditions, often without proper protective equipment. Many were injured in the course of this work.
Rescue and recovery workers breathed in a toxic stew of chemicals, asbestos, pulverized cement, and other health hazards released into the air when the towers fell, and as the site smoldered for months. The dust cloud that so unforgettably rolled through lower Manhattan after the attacks settled in homes, offices, and buildings – exposing tens of thousands more to the same toxins.
Today, thirteen years later, more than 30,000 of the 9/11 responders as well as survivors, residents, area workers, have an illness or injury caused by the attacks or the aftermath, and many of those have more than one illness. Many are disabled and can no longer work. They are suffering from a host of chronic diseases: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, to name but a few. Medical research has identified more than 50 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins. At least 2,800 have been diagnosed with cancers caused or made worse by 9/11 – a number that is sure to grow in the years to come.
More than 800 New York Fire Department members and more than 550 New York Police Department personnel are struggling with serious 9/11-related illnesses, many of them cancers, and have had to retire from their jobs for health reasons. More than 70 firefighters and 60 New York Police Department officers are reported to have died from their 9/11-related illnesses, years after 9/11.
9/11 memorials and monuments continue to be built across the country in Arizona, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington State, among others. This continuing outpouring of commemoration, is not only in metal and stone but in solemn ceremonies and prayer vigils, 5K runs, stair climbs, and other events and is a source of comfort for those who lost loved ones and shows that the nation truly remembers those who lost their lives on 9/11. Sadly, there is little mention that 9/11 is still impacting the health of thousands of living Americans every day.
That is what we would like to change.
On September 11, 2014, we urge Americans to remember those who lost their lives that day, but also to remember the thousands of ailing 9/11 responders and survivors who struggle daily with health problems caused by the attacks.
We ask that when your community has a 9/11 remembrance, memorial, stair climb or however your community chooses to remember and pay your respects, that you make sure to honor those that died or lost loved ones that day but also the thousands living with the health effects of the toxins at Ground Zero and in some cases dying from those toxins now 13 years later.
For more information about the injured and ill from 9/11, many of whom are ailing and at risk of dying from their illnesses, please visit our website: http://www.911healthwatch.org/ .
Please share this message with others.
Board of Directors of 911 Health Watch
Richard Alles, Uniform Fire Officers Association
Suzy Ballantyne, Executive Assistant to the President, NYS AFL-CIO
Lee Clarke, Director, Special Assistant to the President Local 1549, DC37, AFSCME
Dr. James Melius, Administrator, NYS Laborers Health and Safety Trust
Peg Seminario, Safety and Health Director for the AFL-CIO
James Slevin, Vice President, Uniformed Firefighters Association