It was recently announced that mesothelioma and 49 other cancers have been added to the list of conditions that are covered by the federal government’s 9/11 compensation fund.
Unfortunately, this addition may not be very effective in providing financial assistance to people with mesothelioma: the deadline for filing claims is only two years from now. Therefore, because of the long latency period of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, it is unlikely that anyone who was exposed to asbestos during and after the collapse of the World Trade Center will be diagnosed with the disease by that time.
The decision to add the 50 cancers to the list was made by Dr. John Howard, the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Now, people who were exposed to carcinogenic materials in connection with the September 11 attacks may receive financial assistance for medical bills and other expenses from the $4.3 billion compensation fund. Specifically, the fund is targeted toward people who lived and worked in the vicinity of the World Trade Center when it collapsed, or rescue or cleanup workers who spent time on the site following the attacks.
The inclusion of mesothelioma on the list is a positive step: it is estimated that about 400 tons of asbestos was in the walls of the World Trade Center, much of which became airborne when the building collapsed. However, as previously stated, the time limit for application to the fund may prevent it from effectively helping the people who were exposed to asbestos but who will not develop mesothelioma for several decades.
Source: Surviving Mesothelioma, “Mesothelioma Added to 9/11 Compensation Fund,” June 17, 2012