Many of the New York firefighters, police officers and other first responders who worked tirelessly in the recovery efforts at the World Trade Center (WTC) on and after Sept. 11, 2001 have found that they now suffer from a workplace illness — cancer. Recently, the National Institute for Occupational Safety finally recognized this danger and has vowed to compensate these injured workers.

Employees throughout New York not only suffer injuries on the job from time to time, but also can develop work-related illnesses. In these cases, something about the employee’s workplace has given them an illness or exposed them to an outside danger that caused an illness. In these situations, employees are entitled to workers’ compensation and other benefits to cover expenses related to treating the illness, including medical bills and lost wages.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in the wreckage of the WTC there were at least 70 different types of carcinogenic materials. Rescue workers and other government employees were exposed to these materials during their rescue efforts. Subsequently, many of these workers have reported suffering from aggressive and dangerous types of cancer including lung cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, lymphoma and breast cancer. In light of this finding, a federal fund will now benefit injured 9/11 workers suffering from over 50 different types of cancer.

However, some are now wondering if the $1.5 billion set aside for these 40,000 workers will be enough. Many argue that the fund will need at least double the money to compensate victims and their families. What is clear is that these workers need this money as many of them now fight to save their own lives.

Like these rescue workers, other employees are entitled to compensation for injuries or illnesses they got from work. While not every worker may be entitled to a federal fund dedicated to this purpose, those in New York who suffer from a work-related disability deserve to be compensated for medical bills and lost wages.

Source: CBS News, “9/11 workers celebrate victory over addition of cancer coverage but concerned about funding,” Ryan Jaslow, Sept. 11, 2012