With the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks fast approaching, many people continue to develop serious health conditions that have been tied to that fateful day.

And the ongoing pandemic has made things even worse

Attorney Michael Barasch, a managing partner of Barasch & McGarry, who represents 8,000 first responders and others who spent time in lower Manhattan during and after the attack, said many of the thousands of people sickened by the toxic 9/11 fumes have developed cancer and undergone chemotherapy, which weakens the immune system.

He said some from the 9/11 community have put off receiving treatment for their illnesses because of COVID fears, which has made a bad situation even worse.

He also noted more than 100 of his clients from the 9/11 community have died from COVID.

Barasch said there were 300,000 office workers, many from the Garden State, who returned to work in the months after the attacks, because the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced the air around Ground Zero was safe even as the Twin Tower rubble continued to smolder.

He said the announcement turned out to be false, and those workers were inhaling the same toxins the first responders were, and have been developing the same types of illnesses that New York City firefighters and cops have been getting.

“And yet less than 10% of them realize they are entitled to free health care for the rest of their lives and significant compensation if they ever get cancer,” he said.

He said people who were caught in the dust cloud on 9/11 or worked in lower Manhattan within 9 months of the attack are eligible to be covered by the health program and compensation fund.

He stressed 9/11 did not end on 9/11.

“More people have now died of their World Trade Center related illnesses since 9/11 than the 2,950 people who got killed that day,” said Barasch. “It’s just horrifying to see how many people, how many young people are dying of cancer.”

The 9/11 health and compensation fund programs have been extended until the year 2090.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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