"A spate of recent deaths of New York police and fire officers who took part in the emergency operation at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks has heightened fears that it could be the start of a delayed epidemic of cancer-related illness.
Five firefighters and police officers, all of whom were involved in the rescue and clear-up at the site of the collapsed Twin Towers, have died of cancer in the past three months, the oldest being 44. Three died last month within a four-day period. ...
The cluster of cancer deaths comes as Congress is under pressure to pass legislation that would provide federal help to emergency workers who have contracted illnesses since 9/11. Campaigners hope that a bill will be put to the House of Representatives by the end of the year that would set up a $10bn (£6bn) national fund for hundreds of people who now have cancer, respiratory illnesses and other diseases that may be linked to their work at the World Trade Centre site.
Up to 70,000 people took part in the massive operation at Ground Zero, including police, firefighters and construction workers who came to New York voluntarily from all over the US. Many worked for months amid a toxic soup of dust and chemicals."
Ed Pilkington reports for the UK Guardian November 11, 2009.