Don't Deny Compensation to 9/11 First Responders

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My name is John Feal and I’ve been to 181 funerals since September 11, 2001, for first-responders who joined me at Ground Zero after the attacks on the World Trade Center. They are now dying from cancer due to exposure to asbestos, burning jet fuel, burning computer parts, pulverized concrete and other toxic substances.

By 2021, it’s expected that more people will have died from toxic exposure than were killed in the attacks. And Congress could break their promise to provide them with compensation.

I went to Ground Zero hoping that my experience as a US Army veteran and demolition supervisor could save lives. Seventeen years later, many of my fellow responders have died or are dying from cancer, respiratory illness, and other health problems caused by their exposure to debris and toxic chemicals.

In 2015, we successfully fought to reauthorize the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, which ensures victims could receive health screenings and medical benefits for 70 years, and compensation through 2020. In less than two years, that Victim Compensation Fund will close — and it’s already running out of money.

After 9/11, the EPA assured the responders and residents that "the air is safe," and hundreds of thousands of residents and workers returned. Today over 10,000 people have been diagnosed with WTC-linked cancers and more than 2,000 of those people have died, including 184 NYC firefighters.

I live with the memory of the lives lost that day, but also the sadness of knowing survivors are still dying. It’s tragic that our elected officials won’t come together to guarantee support for these victims, who inhaled cancer causing chemicals as they searched for survivors and recovered bodies. Now, thousands of families face steep medical bills and struggle every day just to survive. This is no way to treat human beings who sacrificed so much that day.

Please sign my petition to make sure 9/11 responders and victims are supported by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund after they sacrificed everything.



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