Downtown Express - February 15, 2012Dr. Stephen Levin, a pioneer in securing medical treatment for scores of first responders, cops, and firefighters that were exposed to harmful toxins after 9/11, died last Tuesday, Feb. 7 of lung cancer at the age of 70. At its monthly meeting last Monday, Feb. 13, Community Board 1's World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee proceeded to draft a resolution commemorating Levin's life and accomplishments. Levin served as the co-director of the Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Mt. Sinai's School of Medicine from 1987 to 2001. He was one of the first medical authorities in the New York area to publicly recognize the dangers of the chemicals released in and around Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 attacks and subsequently mobilize fellow physicians to tend to those who became ill. Many believe that Levin's extensive research precipitated Congress's passage of the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010.
"With the passing of Levin, the city of New York and C.B. 1 has lost a leading medical expert and advocate for care for people with both physical and mental environmental health conditions related to 9/11, many of whom continue to receive health care at the Mt. Sinai Center for Excellence," the C.B. 1 resolution states.
"Levin's findings," the resolution continued, "helped form the knowledge base for care at other W.T.C. Centers of Excellence and guidelines."
W.T.C. Redevelopment Committee member Marc Ameruso spoke fondly of Levin. "I knew Levin, as a first responder. He was a great doctor," he said. "I remember going to a City Council hearing where I heard the phrase, 'synergistic effects of toxins,' for the first time [from him]."
If not for Levin, Ameruso added, "I don't know if we'd be where we are today."