Deaths from 9/11 Related Diseases to Soon Pass Number That Died on Day of Terrorist Attack


The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were horrible incidents will remained burned into the memory of an entire generation of Americans. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news that New York had been attacked.

I also remember the moment I saw the second tower crumble to the ground live on television, the streets filling with smoke and dust and rubble. Shell-shocked New Yorkers staggered through the haze, guided by brave first responders.

That day was as horrible as any in my memory, but it’s long over — right? Well, not exactly. People are still dying from 9/11 long after the smoke has cleared.

Why? Those plumes of gas and dust did more than just obscure vision and cause chaos. They also exposed residents, police officers, EMTs and fire fighters to cancer-causing chemicals.

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New York Fire Department EMT Sal Turturici was one of the first responders diagnosed with the terrible disease. According to CBS News, he developed an awful pain in his stomach in late 2015.

Physicians told him that he had cancer throughout his abdomen, attacking multiple organs. “I didn’t have … any kind of sign or symptom, I didn’t have anything,” he said.

“I want to walk my daughter down the aisle. I want to see my boys graduate college. I want to see this all happen. And I’m not sure I am going to get there.”

He’s far from the only one facing a grim diagnosis. The Journal News said that nearly 10,000 individuals who were in the area of the attacks have developed cancer.

What’s worse, over 2,000 people have died from those illnesses. And doctors are expecting that number will rise.

“We’re nervous,” Dr. Michael Crane of World Trade Center Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai Health System said. Crane stated that environmentally caused cancers can take a significantly long time to manifest themselves and “we believe that is what’s happening now.”

Retired New York City Fire Department firefighter Robert Reeg has seen it firsthand. “You lose track, there’s so many of them,” he said, speaking of his colleagues who have sickened since the attack.

“It’s at the back of your mind. But you can’t let it control you.”

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Sadly, it looks as though we’re in for even more of these stories in the future. SurivorNet put out a press release on PRNewswire estimating that roughly 300,000 people are at risk for developing 9/11-related cancers.

Indeed, some 2,977 people died during the attacks, according to CNN. But soon the number of casualties from illnesses might surpass that number.

Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control have set up the World Trade Center Health Program for anyone involved in the attacks. And those struggling with their health can rest assured in knowing that they’re every bit as heroic as those who fought the flames on that fateful day.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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