Last Type of Cancer Excluded from World Trade Center Health Program and Compensation Fund May Be Covered
Above: Female survivors of and responders to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, such as NYPD detective Carol Orazem (shown here at the World Trade Center site in the days after the attacks) will likely soon be eligible for treatment and compensation if they develop uterine cancer as a result of exposure to toxic debris. Below: September 11, 2001
The World Trade Center Health Program is considering expanding its list of covered conditions to include cancers of the uterus. The recommendation is now in the midst of a legally required 45-day public review and comment period, but the change could become official as soon as this month. If the new policy is enacted, female responders and survivors will be eligible for coverage from the World Trade Center Health Program for treatments of uterine cancer. Both groups of women will also be able to file for payment from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
As Kimberly Flynn, the director of 9/11 Environmental Action, explains, “last fall, the World Trade Center Health Program administrator Dr. John Howard requested that the Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) meet publicly to consider whether there was sufficient basis to add uterine cancers to the list of World Trade Center conditions. When the first meeting was announced, I called a friend who was a September 11 disaster relief volunteer and we pulled together a group of responders and survivors, some enrolled in the Health Program and some not, because they were told their cancers could not be certified as World Trade Center-related. At the September, 2021 STAC meetings, these women addressed public comments to the panel, describing what it was like to fight to survive cancers they firmly believed were September 11-related, while fighting the demoralizing sense of being unfairly excluded from World Trade Center care.”
Last November, the STAC conveyed its recommendation to Dr. Howard uterine cancers be added to the list of covered conditions, along with a detailed scientific rationale accompanied by supporting documentation. On May 10, Dr. Howard issued the proposed rule to add all uterine cancers to the list of World Trade Center conditions. These plans are now undergoing mandatory independent peer review. The STAC also noted in its recommendation that, “other than uterine cancer, all cancer types now are covered as World Trade Center-related conditions.”
Kimberly Flynn, director of 9/11 Environmental Action
“The key point,” Ms. Flynn notes, “is this long-overdue correction is underway. All uterine cancers will be added. Women have suffered in the decade-long gap from 2012—when the vast majority of cancers were added for coverage—up to now.”
Why did this take so long? Statistical groups known as “occupational cohorts” are the primary basis for research linking environmental exposures to cancers. And these groups are overwhelmingly male. This means that female responders (and survivors) are left largely unstudied.
Mariama James, a Lower Manhattan resident who is a member of STAC, and who has led the charge for accountability, transparency, and support for survivors for almost two decades, said at the STAC meeting last September, “you cannot know how September 11 exposures are impacting women and children by studying only 50-year old men.”
Ms. Flynn adds that, “because, under the Zadroga Act, the Health Program relies on research for adding new conditions for care, research gaps translate into care gaps. While we are pleased and relieved by the imminent addition of this cancer that only afflicts women, we are calling for the Program to a better job of meeting the research needs of women and young adults—the people exposed to September 11 as children. The gaps in recognizing and caring for conditions that uniquely or primarily affect them need to be closed, so these groups need a new research focus.”
Above: The September 11 dust cloud. Below: Mariama James, a Lower Manhattan resident and a member of STACScientific/Technical Advisory Committee
Ms. James adds that, “it’s so incredibly important and fortunate that we have this mechanism to add conditions to those covered under the September 11 Health and Compensation Act, for which many of us and our leaders personally fought so hard. As one of the first mothers ever to come forward and say, ‘my kids—two of whom are girls—are sick and I know it’s from September 11,’ I feel a sense of accomplishment on behalf of the community that we’ve come this far.”
The Health Program estimates that the addition of uterine cancer to the list of covered conditions will translate into extra costs of between $1.7 million and $2.2 million each year, between 2022 and 2025. Benefits are expected to include, “improved access to care and better treatment outcomes than members would have in the absence of Program coverage.”
The scientific evidence supporting this proposal comes down to four endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that are known to have been present in the toxic debris that spread across Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and in the weeks and months that followed. Each of these are classified as “known or probable human carcinogens.” Adjusting for the relatively small number of female subjects in the population of responders and survivors who have been studied, while accounting for the incidence of uterine cancer, “support[s] the inference that some EDC 9/11 agents may also be linked to uterine cancer,” according to the Health Program’s analysis.
Public Comment Period for BPCA’s Plans to Build Flood Walls and Elevated Landscaping Concludes Friday
For several years, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) has been working on a plan to rebuild and elevate Wagner Park and the areas to its north and south, from First Place and the Museum of Jewish Heritage to Pier A Plaza. This is the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project, currently in its Draft Environmental Impact Statement(DEIS) phase. Now through June 3, the public may submit comments on the design.
This is the weekend when we are called to reflect upon the incalculable debt owed to courageous men and women who gave their lives defending this country. True, like many other once-solemn occasions, this one has devolved somewhat into an excuse for revelry and consumption, but more than a bit of the original spirit endures.
One of the bitter ironies of war is that it disproportionately claims the young—people with decades of life in front of them. But what of those so young that uniforms aren’t made to fit them, and those so small that they are unable to take up arms?
Tremendous writing, Matthew Fenton. Absolutely spot on and beautifully articulated. Undoubtedly your best work yet on so many levels.
To the editor,
Now that the NY State Senate passed our Battery Park City fair representation bill, we need NY State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s office to give permission for it to be “brought to floor for a vote.”
Please take 2 minutes and call Carl Heastie’s office, at 518.455.3791.
* Express support for A10371, a bill to appoint BPC residents on the Battery Park City Authority Board.
* Request Speaker Heastie brings bill to floor for a vote.
* They may ask for your name, home zip code, email, etc. Your choice on whether to leave it.
Board member, BPC Neighbors Association
They strut, they kiss, they preen, they love. Click on the image to see the Pigeon Dance.
Downtown Boathouse Sees Half Millionth Kayaker
On Saturday, May 28, the 500,000th person to sign a waiver at the Downtown Boathouse did so, donned a life vest, and went kayaking. There she is above, with her friend, both of them in town from Buffalo, NY. “If one counts repeats visits, many more than half a million people have gone kayaking for free at the Downtown Boathouse,” noted Graeme Birchall, boathouse president. He acknowledged the people who make free kayaking possible at the Downtown Boathouse. “First and foremost, it is the hundreds of awesome volunteers who have enabled so many people to go kayaking safely,” he said. “The residents of Lower Manhattan have also been very supportive, as has the Hudson River Park Trust, and many elected officials.”
Waves of Woe
Jet Ski Accident Claims One Life, Injures Second Passenger, in Waters Off Battery Park City
A waterborne outing on the first summer-like weekend of the season ended in tragedy on Saturday evening in Battery Park City.
Observe and sketch the human figure. Each week a model will strike short and long poses for participants to draw. An artist/educator will offer constructive suggestions and critique. Drawing materials provided, and artists are encouraged to bring their own favorite media.
Take a self guided tour of the tall ship Wavertree, and visit the 12 Fulton Street galleries to view the exhibitions “South Street and the Rise of New York” and “Millions: Migrants and Millionares aboard the Great Liners.”
National Museum of the American Indian, One Bowling Green
Jam out to the sounds of Albuquerque-based jazz ensemble D’DAT. Vocalist James Pakootas (Colville), award-winning trumpet player Delbert Anderson (Diné), drummer Nicholas Lucero, and bassist Mike McCluhan offer a funky fusion of jazz and hip hop.
Immerse yourself in this meditative practice, surrounded by the Hudson’s peaceful aura. Strengthen the body and cultivate awareness in a relaxed environment as your instructor guides you through alignments and poses. All levels are welcome. Bring your own mat.
For the Moment, a program curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa, presents evenings of short, theme-based solo dance improvisations that celebrate creative response to the changing textures and energies of outer and inner worlds. The Spring 2022 theme is Other Discoveries Made on The Moon. $10-$15.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Latecomer is a layered and immersive literary novel about three siblings, desperate to escape one another, and the upending of their family by the late arrival of a fourth.
The story of an emigrant’s journey from the old world—a little village in Russia—to the new world in New York. Adapted from Joseph Roth’s 1930 novel of the same name, this powerful production stars Danish actor Ina-Miriam Rosenbaum in every role. He is joined onstage by principal oboist of the Danish Royal Orchestra Henrik Goldshmidt and Indian-Danish accordion virtuoso Anders Singh Vesterdahl. The performance’s offbeat music lifts the story of one person into a universally relatable tale about the experience of being a refugee and the challenges of encountering a new world. $10.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found