Of the 12,000 who attended the scene of the atrocity at the World Trade Center 10 years ago, 297 have been diagnosed with cancer, almost triple the incidence before the attack.
A report said that 56 who have been diagnosed had since died.
Residents of lower Manhattan have long claimed that the dust and ash clouds triggered by the long-burning fires at the site of the twin towers were toxic.
Figures released by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) appear to bear out the theory, with cancer rates among NYPD officers who attended the disaster running at 16 a year compared to six before the attacks. The average age they were forced to leave the force due to their ill-health was 44.
Lung cancer was the most common form of the disease among officers, although there were more rare varieties including cancers of the bile duct, tongue and nasal passages.
The figures are likely to fuel campaigners who want to include cancers on the list of ailments which qualify Ground Zero workers for compensation.
Under the Zadroga Act, named for Detective James Zadroga who died of a respiratory disease after taking part in the recovery operation, sick 9/11 workers are entitled to health screening and financial benefits.
New York’s City Hall has always refused to release cancer rates among the NYPD, saying that the information was private.
The office of Mayor Bloomberg turned down a request for the data from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, which is carrying out a study into whether material released at Ground Zero was cancerous.
Frank Tramontao, research director at the PBA, said: “It is our sincere opinion that the City of New York has done nothing to facilitate any cancer study and has been actively working to prevent a comprehensive examination of the issue.”
Retired NYPD Officer Edwin Rivera, 55, is one of those who blames his cancer on breathing in dust at Ground Zero.
He told the New York Post: “We sat in the pile and ate, drank water, rested – there was nowhere to go that wasn’t contaminated. I have cancer that I should never have gotten.”
From The Telegraph.