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What are the Most Common 9/11-Related Illnesses?


The toxins in the 9/11 dust cloud caused a wide range of illnesses in the responders and survivors who were in the NYC Exposure Zone in the days and months following the terrorist attacks. Tragically, many of those who were present at Ground Zero and in the surrounding area suffered long-term medical conditions that have significantly impacted their lives and livelihoods.

Although some 9/11 illnesses are more common than others, the WTC Health Program offers health monitoring and treatment for all aerodigestive conditions, cancers, respiratory issues, and musculoskeletal disorders linked to the toxic dust. Responders and survivors who are eligible can also receive financial compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for the economic and non-economic losses suffered due to these illnesses.

The WTC Health Program’s Top 10 Certified Conditions

The 9/11 dust cloud contained countless carcinogens and toxins that were inhaled and ingested by those who were exposed to it. As a result, thousands of responders and survivors developed various illnesses, cancers, and other health conditions. While the WTC Health Program certifies all conditions linked to 9/11, ten conditions appear more often than others in responders and survivors.

The WTC Health Program’s top ten certified conditions — and the number of responders and survivors they affect to date — include:

  • Chronic rhinosinusitis — 30,211 responders and 8,147 survivors have been certified with chronic rhinosinusitis.
  • Cancer — 20,113 responders and 16,781 survivors have been certified with many forms of cancer linked to the dust cloud, including skin cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, kidney cancer, thyroid cancer, bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, and many others.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — 28,236 responders and 6,911 survivors have been certified with GERD.
  • Asthma — 14,584 responders and 6,392 survivors have been certified with 9/11-related asthma.
  • Sleep apnea — 16,991 responders and 2,026 survivors have been certified with sleep apnea linked to 9/11.
  • PTSD — The WTC Health Program has certified 10,236 responders and 4,777 survivors with post-traumatic stress disorder in connection with 9/11.
  • Chronic respiratory disorder — 8,129 responders and 1,361 survivors have been certified with 9/11-related chronic respiratory disorder caused by the fumes and vapors in the dust cloud.
  • WTC-Exacerbated COPD — 3,620 responders and 1,353 survivors have been certified by the WTC Health Program for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbated by 9/11 exposure.
  • Anxiety — 2,759 responders and 1,253 survivors have been certified with anxiety in connection with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • Major depressive disorder — 2,745 responders and 1,093 survivors have been certified with major depressive disorder linked to 9/11.

Importantly, while the VCF does not compensate for mental health conditions, it provides monetary awards for all physical health conditions linked to the toxic dust cloud that are certified by the WTC Health Program.

What Compensation Does the VCF Provide for 9/11 Health Conditions?

The Zadroga Act authorizes the VCF to award compensation to eligible responders and survivors for their 9/11-related illnesses that have been certified by the WTC Health Program. Pursuant to the statute, a responder or survivor who meets the VCF’s criteria may be eligible to receive a non-economic loss award between $10,000 and $90,000 for a non-cancer condition — and up to $250,000 for a cancer. The VCF considers the severity of the condition to determine the appropriate amount of pain and suffering award.

In limited situations, the Special Master may issue an award above the statutory cap. For instance, if a responder or survivor has been diagnosed with multiple cancers—or a cancer and a presumptively severe health condition—a higher amount of compensation may be issued. However, the highest amount that the VCF can issue in these cases is $340,000.

Contact an Experienced New York 9/11 VCF Attorney

If you are a responder or survivor who was diagnosed with a 9/11 cancer or other disease, you may be eligible to receive compensation from the VCF. It’s vital to have a skillful VCF attorney by your side who can help ensure you obtain the maximum award to which you are entitled. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C., have been providing reliable representation to claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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