Lady with a breathing tube

Understanding the Connection Between 9/11 and Sarcoidosis

By Hansen & Rosasco


When the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) collapsed on September 11, 2001, 24,000 gallons of jet fuel burned fires on the pile for almost 100 days. The debris and dust in the air around Ground Zero contained over 2,500 contaminants that never should have been inhaled. Those contaminants contained glass, mercury, lead, concrete dust, carpet fibers, pulverized fiberglass, and even asbestos. During the rescue mission, recovery workers and cleanup teams were exposed to high levels of these toxins. In addition, civilians and families working in Lower Manhattan were also exposed to the toxic dust cloud for many months after 9/11. While official workers eventually received protective gear to reduce their toxic exposure, volunteers, residents, and other workers did not. In fact, 80-percent of 9/11 rescue workers did not wear protective face masks in the first several days following the attacks. Over 300 workers were treated for eye and respiratory problems during the first day alone. Since 2001, more than 7,000 first responders have been diagnosed with an injury-related illness or disease, and many have died as a result.

What is Sarcoidosis?

After being exposed to the toxins present after 9/11, numerous first responders and civilians developed a rare interstitial lung disease known as sarcoidosis, which is a growth of tiny collections of granulomas in the lungs, lymph nodes, and sometimes other parts of the body. These granulomas are most likely produced when the body’s immune system overreacts to a toxin in the air. There is no cure for sarcoidosis and victims may suffer from fatigue, persistent cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Complications can cause long-term problems, impairment, and even death. Our experienced attorneys at Turley, Hansen & Rosasco, LLP have handled many 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund cases for disabling sarcoidosis. Many times, we also represent the client in sarcoidosis-related 9/11 social security disability claims. Such coordinated claims can often result in compensation awards amounting to millions of dollars.

First Responders Not the Only Ones Affected

While first responders have been the focus of many sarcoidosis studies, they are not the only ones who have been affected by the toxins present after 9/11 in Lower Manhattan. Residents and families located near Ground Zero have also been diagnosed with diseases, cancers, and respiratory disorders at a higher rate than residents in other parts of New York City. Tragically, many civilians who were near the WTC when it collapsed on 9/11 have been diagnosed with 9/11 sarcoidosis, and many of them have died as a result.

The Zadroga Act  was reauthorized in 2015, and it provides $12 billion for free healthcare, monitoring, and compensation benefits to individuals, first responders, families, and civilians who were exposed to 9/11 toxins at numerous locations across New York. Individuals working or living at the following locations may be eligible:

  • Ground Zero
  • Lower Manhattan, south of Canal Street
  • Staten Island Fresh Kills Landfill
  • Any area along the Ground Zero debris removal route
  • Any area where WTC contaminated vehicles may have been cleaned or rehabilitated
  • Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of NYC or morgues that housed 9/11 victims

Interstitial lung diseases like 9/11 sarcoidosis are not the only diseases or disorders that are eligible for free healthcare and compensation under the Zadroga Act through the WTC Health Program. Over 70 types of cancer are also covered as 9/11-related illnesses. Visit our website for a full list of covered illnesses.

Here at Turley, Hansen & Rosasco, LLP, our attorneys have successfully lobbied on behalf of countless first responders and families who have suffered from illness as a result of 9/11. We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients and helped them achieve the justice they deserve. In fact, our commitment to 9/11 victims has resulted in the recovery of almost $200 million in VCF compensation, and we’ve represented more than 2,000 clients throughout the process. Contact us today at 1-855-982-4636 to learn more about your rights.

Posted under: 9/11 Cancers, Lung Cancer
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