The U.S. government is expected to add cancer to the list of illnesses covered by a 9/11 compensation fund this week, according to the New York Post.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is likely to add 50 types of cancer to be covered under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, according to lawyers Michael Barasch and Noah Kushlefsky.
In a statement released Monday, New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer both praised the inclusion.
"We fought long and hard to make sure that our Sept. 11 heroes suffering from cancers obtained from their work at Ground Zero get the help they deserve," the statement read. "Today’s announcement is a huge step forward that will provide justice and support to so many who are now suffering from cancer and other illnesses."
The Zadroga Act, passed almost two years ago, originally did not cover cancer because the bill's authors believed it was difficult to link the disease to Ground Zero toxins.
“There’s new scientific evidence,” Barasch said, “that dust is what is now linked to not only the respiratory illnesses, but all these cancers.”
“It’s a bittersweet thing,” John Walcott, an NYPD detective diagnosed with leukemia after working at Ground Zero, told the paper. “It took 11 years to do what should have been done a long time ago.”
According to the Post, recent estimates show that about 400 responders and residents have died from cancer since 9/11.