As the city paused to remember that terrible Tuesday morning 11 years ago, the federal government has done right by the families of men and women who worked the toxic pile at Ground Zero. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health announced on Sept. 10 that cancer victims will be compensated through the Victim Compensation Fund set up two years ago.
Although some 400 Ground Zero workers have died of cancer, the disease was not covered in federal legislation that set up the fund. Now, however, scientific findings have led authorities to conclude that up to 50 types of cancer are related to exposure to toxic dust at the site.
That is welcome news for thousands of workers and their loved ones. There is little doubt that those who worked the pile were exposed to carcinogens—and it may take many more years before some workers exhibit symptoms. Now, at least, they know that they will be taken care of if they become ill.
That’s the least we can do.
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