Today, U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Peter T. King (R-NY), the House sponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, commended the proposal by Dr. John Howard, Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health and the administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program, that the Program accept the entire set of recommendations issued previously by its Science/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) to provide coverage for certain types of cancer resulting from exposure to toxins released at Ground Zero. Dr. Howard's recommendations were issued in documents today, which will be subject to public review and comment for 30 days before being implemented. The Members of Congress issued the following joint statement:
"We are thrilled by Dr. Howard's recommendation today to include all the Science/ Technical Advisory Committee's suggested cancers for coverage in the World Trade Center Health Program. It further strengthens our legislation, which we all worked so hard to pass, and helps pave the way for expanding the scope of available medical care and compensation for those sickened by the toxins at Ground Zero. As we have all seen with our own eyes again and again, cancer incidence among responders and survivors is a tragic fact, and we must continue to do everything we can to provide the help that those who are sick need and deserve. We want to thank Dr. Howard and his staff, as well as Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, for moving so quickly on these recommendations.
"We are confident that, after the public comment period, Dr. Howard's recommendations to include coverage for cancers will be implemented, and hope that responders and survivors deemed eligible can begin to receive treatment and compensation before summer's end. Next, we need to start working to extend the Victims Compensation Fund past its current end point in 2016 in order to ensure that responders and survivors who develop these cancers after that will be able to receive compensation."
The World Trade Center Health Program, created as a result of the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act introduced by Reps. Maloney, Nadler, and King, provides medical monitoring and treatment for those who became ill as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 and their aftermath.
In April, the Science/Technical Advisory Committee of the World Trade Center Health Program issued a formal recommendation to add certain types of cancers for coverage under the program. Last September, Reps. Maloney, Nadler, King, Rangel, Velazquez, Grimm, and Clarke, along with Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand, sent a letter to Dr. Howard, requesting that he review new evidence that showed an increased rate of cancers among firefighters present at ground zero and consider adding cancer for the health program. The WTC Science and Technical Advisory Committee was created under the Zadroga Act to advise Dr. Howard regarding the implications of 9/11-related medical research, and to issue recommendations on adding coverage for new conditions under the bill.