Thousands of people across the nation have seen the iconic 9/11 photograph of the woman who came to be known as the “Dust Lady.” The photo shows a woman covered in ash and dazed following the collapse of the World Trade Center south tower. Marcy Borders, the woman in the photograph recently died of stomach cancer at the age of 42. Borders received her diagnosis of cancer less than a year ago. A mother of two, and a lifelong resident of Bayonne, New Jersey, Borders was undergoing treatment for her cancer. Marcy Borders was a Bank of America legal assistant who worked on the 81st floor.


Borders was able to reach the sidewalk by forcing her way down the stairwell as the south tower began to tumble. Borders was pulled inside the lobby of a building nearby by a stranger; it was at that time photographer Stan Honda snapped the photograph. Haunted by her 9/11 experiences, Borders struggled with depression and addiction for the next ten years, then checked into rehab, remaining sober until her death. When Borders was told she had stomach cancer she questioned whether it was related to 9/11.


Scientist Who Published “Dust” Book Collapses at Airport

A scientist who published his findings related to the dangerous dust resulting from 9/11 also died recently after collapsing at the Newark Liberty International Airport. Paul Lioy published his book Dust: The Inside Story of Its Role in the September 11th Aftermath,” in 2010. Lioy was 68 years old. Lioy collected bags of the dust which resulted from the 9/11 tragedy. When he analyzed the dust he found a dangerous mix of concrete, gypsum, calcite, asbestos, glass, plastic and wood.


These components of the 9/11 dust are known to cause irritation as well as cancer and neurological damage. It is unknown at this time if Lioy’s death was related to breathing in this dangerous dust mixture following the bombing of the twin towers. In Lioy’s book, he addresses such questions as how the size of the dust particles influenced the resulting coughs among rescue workers and other New Yorkers, and whether changes should be made to the design of the respirators used during the 9/11 aftermath. The book also addresses steps Americans need to take in order to be better prepared in the event of a similar catastrophe.


Cancer Becoming More Prevalent Among 9/11 Responders and Survivors

The stomach cancer which killed Marcy Borders is one of the many illnesses which were covered by a federal fund, however that fund will run out of money next year. If the Zadroga Act is not renewed, thousands of 9/11 first responders and survivors could be left with no assistance for their 9/11-related illnesses and injuries. It is estimated that more than 33,000 9/11 responders and survivors are living with such an illness or injury.  The World Trade Center Health Fund, established in 2010, did not cover cancer until 2012.


The program now covers 50 different types of cancer, including stomach cancer, brain cancer and lung cancer as well as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, PTSD, other mental health conditions and other lung diseases. More than 1,100 people have been certified by the federal government as having cancer, and many more are likely to develop cancer as it can take years for some cancers to become apparent. More than 100 firefighters and paramedics have died in the years since 9/11—most of those from cancer. Another 2,000 firefighters and paramedics were forced to retire due to 9/11-related disabilities.  


Turley, Hansen & Rosasco would like you to join us in supporting the renewal of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Should you have any questions about the Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act  or World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, please feel free to call, click the chat button or contact us at the top of this page.