A public hearing, sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), was held Thursday in New York City concerning the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (Pub. L 111-347). The purpose of the government sponsored meeting was to solicite comments on how to implement the Federal benefit program that was signed into law at the end of last year by President Obama.
Victims, their families and representatives were among the presenters at the day-long hearing. A major area of concern at the hearing was whether the program will cover cancer claims and claims for anxiety based diseases that resulted from the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001. The toxic cloud of dust and fumes that emanated from the site is of serious concern to medical professionals because of the known pulmonary irritants and carcinogens, including asbestos, that it contained and transported.
The law provides for additional benefits to those who worked near the site during the months following the disaster. Not only are first responders permitted to file for benefits, but the program provides coverage to those who were utility workers, who were involved in the restoration of services, ie. telephone and power, and it also includes those who were involved in the clean-up of the area and local residents.
Comments will accepted until 5:00pm EDT on April 29, 2011 and an implementation plan will be formalized by July, 2011.