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9/11 responders deadline to join settlement

November 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
More than 10,000 first responders have sued New York City in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks because of health problems caused by exposure to toxic World Trade Center dust. Monday was the last day for responders to decide whether to join the settlement which could ultimately be worth $815 million.

Many have already decided to settle, like emergency services worker Glenn Klein, who said due to inhaling particulate matter at ground zero, he has developed numerous health problems.

"I have several gastrointestinal problems. I have precancerous polyps in my colon which were removed. I have exercise-induced asthma and RADS (reactive airways dysfunction syndrome), and I have scarring on one lung and nodules on the other lung," he explained. Klein didn't want to go to court and litigate, afraid the lawsuit could drag out for ten years or more.

There have already been 10,000 lawsuits. Many blame the government and its contractors for failing to provide proper equipment to protect their lungs.

New York Senator Charles Schumer has pushed Congress to provide $7 billion in health care benefits for ground zero first responders.

"They are like our soldiers and we do not neglect our veterans if they get injured, and they did something brave and courageous just to help our country," said Schumer.

So far, 90 percent of the workers have agreed to the settlement but 95 percent of the plaintiffs are needed in order for the deal to go through.


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