Marcy Borders, an iconic woman who was photographed covered in dust moments after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC), has passed away from stomach cancer at 41 years old. Known as the “Dust Lady” to the media, she believed her illness was brought on by exposure to dangerous pollutants present at ground zero.
The woman was working on the 81st
floor of the north tower when one of the hijacked aircraft flew into the building several stories above her. Although she made it out safely, she has joined an increasingly large number of people who have developed health problems in the aftermath of the attacks. Since the 9/11 attacks, more than 1,100 people who lived or worked near the WTC have developed cancer.
Materials present in the dust near ground zero included benzene and asbestos, both of which are carcinogens. Although these materials were present during and after the 9/11 attacks, both are known carcinogens that affect workers around the country every year.
How Many Were Affected By 9/11 Dust and Debris?
After a 2011 study on firefighters at ground zero was published, Congress amended the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act
(JZHCA) to include coverage for cancer. Researchers discovered firefighters working at ground zero were 19 percent more likely to get cancer. The JZHCA provides medical services and compensation to individuals who have had their health affected by materials present at ground zero.
Asbestos can cause asbestosis and mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, benzene can cause cancer in humans, most notably leukemia.
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