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Study Reveals Link Between 9/11 Toxic Dust and Liver Disease and Cancer


Responders and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks were exposed to thousands of chemicals as a result of inhaling the toxins in the dust cloud that covered lower Manhattan. Many of these harmful compounds have been linked to severe illnesses, including various forms of cancer and hepatic steatosis — commonly known as liver disease. Significantly, researchers have linked an increased risk of liver disease to the amount of toxic dust to which responders and recovery workers were exposed. 

Those who were present in the area south of Canal Street in the weeks and months following September 11, 2001 continue to be diagnosed with health conditions caused by the toxic dust. If you are a responder or survivor who was diagnosed with an eligible 9/11 illness, you may be entitled to receive an award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

What Does the 9/11 Liver Disease Study Show?

New research has revealed that responders who arrived early at Ground Zero have an increased likelihood of developing liver disease, compared with those who arrived later to aid in the rescue and recovery efforts. The study — which was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in July — was conducted by a group of researchers at Mount Sinai who analyzed the lung scans of 1,788 responders monitored by the WTC Health Program. 

The researchers developed a specific algorithm that identified evidence of liver disease in the portion of the liver visible in the lung scans. Lower density of the liver, which suggests hepatic steatosis, was found in more than 14% of the responders. Critically, 17% of responders who arrived on September 11, 2001 had liver damage. The research showed that number fell to 11% for those who arrived between September 14 and 30.   

9/11 Liver Disease Symptoms and Treatment

The liver is a vital organ that performs many essential functions. However, liver disease symptoms aren’t always obvious at first. In fact, symptoms can take years to develop. When signs of liver disease become apparent, they can include:

  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itchy skin
  • Severe fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Dark urine
  • Leg and ankle swelling

If left untreated, liver disease may increase the risk of liver cancer and lead to cirrhosis. The condition is usually diagnosed through blood tests and imaging procedures. A doctor might also recommend a liver biopsy in the event that these tests are inconclusive. Treatment plans may include addressing any underlying conditions, dietary changes, and an exercise regime.

Additionally, if you are a 9/11 responder or survivor, it’s crucial to enroll in the WTC Health Program to ensure you are properly monitored for any health conditions linked to the toxic dust cloud. The WTC Health Program also provides treatment for eligible responders and survivors at no cost. Importantly, responders and survivors who are entitled to compensation from the VCF must first have their conditions certified by the program.

VCF Compensation for 9/11 Health Conditions

A 9/11-related health condition can adversely impact every aspect of your life and your ability to earn a living. If you are a 9/11 responder or survivor who developed an illness due to inhaling the toxins in the NYC Exposure Zone, you may be entitled to receive a monetary award from the VCF. The VCF compensates responders and survivors for the economic losses they suffered — as well as for the pain and suffering they experienced as a result of their 9/11 health condition.

Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney

If you are a responder or survivor who has been diagnosed with a 9/11 illness, disease, cancer, or health condition, you may be eligible for compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. However, the regulations, policies, and procedures involved in filing a claim can often be overwhelming and stressful. It’s best to have a knowledgeable 9/11 VCF attorney by your side who can ensure you obtain the maximum monetary recovery you deserve.

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for more than a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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