Post-attack illness fatalities to soon equal 9/11 deaths

THE number of people who are dying from illness relating to the September 11 attacks is nearing the number of those that were killed on the day terrorists flew into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

Amid a post-911 health crisis, experts predict that the number of people dying from the toxic exposure to the towers' debris and wreckage will exceed - within five years - the near 3,000 people who died on 11 September 2001. More than 37,000 people are officially recognised as sick, as reported by The Guardian.

Protesters are calling for a new monument alongside the two towers to recognise those people who are ill or have already passed away.

"There are a lot of people who are very, very ill with lung disease who will see at least 10 years taken from their normal life span," Dr Jim Melius, a doctor at the New York State Labourers Union, who chairs the steering committee which oversees the government health programme for 9/11 responders, told The Guardian.

"And we are already seeing many more premature deaths occurring, and among younger people, from the cancers.

There is going to be a new generation of widows and widowers."

The collapsed towers left behind a pile of asbestos, lead, glass, gases and other toxic and dangerous building materials.

The growing health crisis comes despite officials telling residents in local Manhattan following the attacks that the air was safe.

Christine Whitman from the Environmental Protection Agency later admitted she had been mistaken.

In 2010 Congress passed the Zadroga Act, which pays the health costs of those who were poisoned by the debris of 9/11.

It was named after a police officer who worked to rescue people in the wake of the attacks and died in 2006 after developing breathing problems.

It was extended to provide lifetime care for 9/11 first responders in 2015.

The following year the federal World Trade Centre Health Programme was created.

It now has 75,000 registered members, the vast majority of whom worked on the clean-up and rescue operation. It also includes New Yorkers. More than 1,000 of those members have since died.