9/11 Health Bill Now Encompassing Neighbors Sickened In Area


9-11-ground-zeroThe $2.7 billion Zadroga 9/11 fund to help sickened Ground Zero responders is being expanded to include the people who lived in the area – and who breathed in the poison just by being there.

The danger area has been expanded beyond the 16-acre World Trade Center site. The new boundaries will cover Lower Manhattan south of Reade Street between the two rivers, according to proposed regulations released Tuesday.

“Expanding the area covered means people who got sick not working in the Pit can still be helped,” said John Feal, a 9/11 advocate and demolition supervisor.

Sheila Birnbaum, the New York lawyer appointed to oversee the compensation fund, said she wants the process to be “fair, transparent and easy to navigate.”

The regulations draw heavily from the ground rules used in the first 9/11 victims compensation fund, and outline the process for people to submit claims for their injuries and illnesses.

People who collected from the first compensation fund but have proof their health has deteriorated can reapply, advocates said.

New York Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler and Peter King praised Birnbaum’s work in her first 34 days on the job.

One area that is not addressed in the proposed regs is whether cancers are on the list of covered sicknesses.

Birnbaum indicated she will wait for the scientific review next month of whether cancers should be covered.

While she will take those medical recommendations under review, Birnbaum gets the final call on whether cancers should be covered.

Individuals have 45 days to comment on the proposed regulations.

{NY Daily News/Matzav.com Newscenter}