For Immediate Release: August 01, 2006
Statement by Steve Cassidy, UFA President
New York, NY - According to Dr. David J. Prezant's study the average NYC Firefighter working at the World Trade Center (WTC) site lost 12-years worth of lung capacity in a matter of weeks and months. The dust and debris they had to work in without masks, was found to contain over 400 chemicals, pulverized glass and concrete, in short, a toxic stew.
As we approach the fifth anniversary most firefighters working today wonder where they will be in five years, health wise and the harm it may cause their family.
This concern is only further complicated by a lack of clarity about the city's positions relating to the protection of firefighters who put their lives and their health on the line during and in the wake of the 9-11 attacks.
We hope the city has changed its policy on important legislation to protect the families of the brave firefighters and other first responders who may become ill and die from working at the World Trade Center site. The World Trade Center Presumptive Death Benefit Bill provides accidental death benefits to 9-11 rescuers, should they succumb to disease resulting from their work at the World Trade Center site.
Currently there are also over 100 firefighters that FDNY doctors have deemed as too permanently disabled to continue working as firefighters, yet the city won't allow them to retire.
If we are not going to take care of the rescuers, what type of message does that send to future first responders who we need to call on for the next major catastrophe?
Firefighters and first responders need to know they and their families will be protected should they become injured or killed while saving and protecting New Yorkers.