Ground Zero responders have health worries

January 19, 2007

Some police officers, firefighters and others who responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York City say they are paying for it with their health.

A small group of people who responded to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center rallied outside Mount Sinai Medical Center Thursday in support of a critically ill retired New York City police officer, the New York Daily News reported. Inside, retired officer Cesar Borja was in intensive care with pulmonary fibrosis.

The protesters said the government should do more to help Borja and other Sept. 11 responders who have had health problems.

"The government needs to wake up and do something. More and more guys are getting sick every day," Donna Nolan of Yonkers, whose husband Jimmy, 41, has developed breathing problems, told the Daily News. "These guys need help."

Doctors have not been able to link the air at the former World Trade Center site with the health problems experienced by people who worked there, the newspaper said.

But some have little doubt. Retired police officer Allison Palmer, 38, has cancer and carried a sign with pictures of her medical scans that read, "The air was not clean. Shame on you!"

"I never smoked a cigarette in my life. I don't drink alcohol. I don't use drugs. It's not a hereditary type of cancer," Palmer told the Daily News. "There's no doubt in my mind it's from Ground Zero."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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