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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The federal government is now saying that cancer-striken Ground Zero responders will not benefit from the Zadroga Act.
The decision, which comes after the first of a series of reviews, was made by Dr. John Howard, who is overseeing the program.
A report released Tuesday by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health finds, at this point, there is not enough scientific evidence to add cancer to the list of diseases covered by the $2.7 billion measure President Barack Obama signed late last year.
WCBS 880′s Pat Farnack With Rep. Peter King
Reps Peter King, Carolyn Maloney, and Jerrold Nadler have released a joint statement in opposition to the decision.
“This is disappointing news for 9/11 responders and survivors who tragically have been diagnosed with cancer since the attacks and are suffering day-to-day and awaiting help,” they said in the statement.
“We are confident that studies on the effects of the toxins at ground zero -research that, under the Zadroga Act, can be funded and fully supported for the first time- will ultimately provide the scientific evidence that Dr. Howard needs to make this determination,” the Representatives continued.
“Thankfully, we know that today’s announcement is not the last word on the inclusion of cancers in the program,” they added
“There are so many rare types of blood disorders, blood type cancers, which have been suffered by those who worked at Ground Zero,” Rep. Peter King told WCBS 880′s Pat Farnack. “It would defy all the rules of probability to say that these were not caused by what they inhaled and what they worked through down at Ground Zero.”
WCBS 880′s Steve Knight: John Feal Will Keep Fighting
John Feal, largely credited with helping to get the bill passed, reacted with disappointment.
“I’m insulted and I think the 9/11 community is insulted because you don’t need to be a doctor or scientist to realize 9/11 caused these cancers in these men and women,” Feal told WCBS 880′s Steve Scott.
WCBS 880′s Steve Scott With John Feal
Feal said he is not surprised by the report but believes, in time, the disease will return to the list of covered conditions.
“The onus is no longer on the 9/11 responders to prove that 9/11 got us sick, the onus is on them to prove that 9/11 didn’t get us sick and they’re wrong,” Feal told 1010 WINS. “We have the facts, we have the statistics, we have the numbers and we have the amount of funerals we’ve been to for people that died of cancer.”
WCBS 880′s Wayne Cabot And Steve Scott With Rep. Carolyn Maloney
Feal said this is another hurdle in getting justice for 9/11 responders and victims.
“It’s hard to ask people to sit back and wait that have cancer or have a loved one that died of cancer but we waited so long to get this bill passed,” Feal said. “You just got to try to be patient and just go through this political process; it’s ugly and it’s wrong.”
WCBS 880′s Steve Scott And Wayne Cabot With Rep. Jerrold Nadler
Some 60,000 people are being monitored by current 9/11 health programs, including 20,000 who have had some kind of medical procedure related to the terror attacks.