In Medical Research, World Trade Center Health Program

Pitta & Baione LLP has encountered dozens of women who were exposed to 9/11 toxins and have since developed endometrial and uterine cancer. As explained below, the WTC Health Program recently denied a petition to include endometrial and uterine cancer on its list of covered conditions. However, in the denial Administrator Dr. John Howard, specifically requires WTC Health Programs clinicians to consider certification of both cancers on a case by case basis and further encourages victims of 9/11 toxins exposure to seek certification of endometrial and uterine cancer.

As further explained below, the WTC Health Program has denied 21 out of 23 petitions for consideration of additional conditions to the covered list. In the other 20 denials, not one of them encourages victims to seek certification on a case by case basis and not one of them requires WTC Health Program clinicians to consider certification on a case by case basis. So, while the denial is bad news, the encouragement is promising and Pitta & Baione LLP will advocate for 9/11 victims suffering from endometrial and uterine cancer in seeking certification from the WTC Health Program and compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

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The World Trade Center Health Program provides free medical monitoring and treatment benefits to 9/11 responders and to survivors who were present in the dust or dust cloud on September 11, 2001 or who worked, resided, or attended school, childcare, or adult daycare in Lower Manhattan between September 11, 2001 and July 31, 2002.

Pursuant to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, the WTC Health Program is required to identify illnesses caused by toxic 9/11 dust exposure. The list of WTC Health Program covered conditions can be found here.

The list is subject to expansion over time as scientific research grows and as the WTC Health Program identifies more conditions related to 9/11 toxins exposure. As illustration: the James Zadroga Reauthorization Act of 2015 specifically requires the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to prioritize victims suffering from cancer. Cancer has become almost synonymous with 9/11 toxins exposure. 9/11 cancer is an epidemic that has inflicted over 10,000 people at a rate that has increased almost 4,000% in 5 years. However, the WTC Health Program list of covered conditions did not recognize cancer until 2012.

The addition of cancer to the list of covered conditions was prompted by a study conducted in part by the Chief Medical Officer of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), Dr. David Prezant. The study found that the cancer rate of individuals exposed to 9/11 toxins is 20% higher than the general population.

Illnesses may be considered for inclusion on the list of covered conditions by submitting a petition to the WTC Health Program Administrator, which is currently Dr. John Howard. So far, there have been 23 petitions for consideration of proposed conditions. Of those 23, only two have been granted: the petitions for a designated list of cancers in 2012, and separately for prostate cancer in 2013.

The most recent petition submitted on April 23, 2019 was for consideration of uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer. The petition was denied for the same reason as the other 20 denials so far: insufficient evidence linking the condition to 9/11 toxins exposure. Here is an excerpt of Dr. John Howard’s denial of uterine and endometrial cancer:
The relevant studies published to date, and reviewed above, do not provide consistent evidence that uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer, incidence or mortality is elevated among WTC responders and/or survivors. In addition, the studies did not report a dose-response relationship between WTC-related exposures and uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer. Taken together, these studies do not have sufficient quality and quantity to demonstrate a potential to provide a basis for a decision on whether to add uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer, to the List. Accordingly, these studies are not further reviewed.
Upon review of the evidence available in peer-reviewed, published, epidemiological studies and updates regarding uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer, among 9/11-exposed populations, the Administrator has determined that the available evidence does not have the potential to provide a basis for deciding whether to propose adding uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer, to the List.
However, despite the denial, Dr. John Howard  also encouraged victims of 9/11 toxins exposure.

The WTC Health Program may consider uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer, to be a condition medically associated with a certified WTC-related health condition in individual cases. Program members who think their uterine or endometrial cancer is a side effect of treatment of a certified WTC-related health condition should ask their WTC Health Program medical provider whether their endometrial cancer might be considered a medically associated health condition.

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Pitta & Baione LLP will continue to advocate on behalf of 9/11 victims suffering from uterine and endometrial cancer. For more information e-mail info@pittabaione.com or call 844-WTC-COMP or 212-658-1766.

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