Eyewitness News

Zadroga 9/11 health program adds cancer

Monday, September 10, 2012
Bill Ritters daily take on the news.

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

It shouldn't have taken this long. Not anywhere near this long. But at least it's happened, one day before the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The federal government today - finally, FINALLY, acknowledging what seemed so obvious to so many for all these years; that first responders and folks living in Lower Manhattan have cancer because of their exposure to the toxic dust at and around Ground Zero right after 9-11.

The list of illnesses that qualified for funds from the "Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act" (named for NYPD Detective James Zadroga; he was just 34 after he died) was fairly short. Now, up to 50 cancers are "covered." Only problem: The funding for the fund hasn't increased, so that could be a problem going forward.

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But for now, on this eve of the 11th anniversary, some good news for those who are suffering.

Tomorrow morning, I'll join Lori Stokes to anchor our coverage of this year's memorial service. I usually write a long remembrance piece in this space, but I think the government's ruling trumps the news today. And my sentiments about this day - looking back, looking at how the country and all of us reacted, and looking ahead- were contained in last year's thoughts on Sept. 11.

Here's the link to that blog: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_york&id=8343622.

There's much talk about how much longer the reading of the names will continue. This year's ceremony will be substantially different, aside from the name reading. There will be no speeches or talks or poetry readings. Just the names of the victims. More than 2,800 of them.

And, like always, it will be moving and emotional and painful.

We'll preview the ceremony, and have the latest on the government's action, tonight at 11.

We're also on the campaign trail, where there apparently has been a "bounce" in popularity for Pres. Obama since the two weeks of back-to-back political conventions.

Perhaps Mitt Romney will look back on all this and think he should have been on the road stumping, rather than at a luxury house in the mountains of Vermont, prepping for his debates with Mr. Obama this fall. I'm just sayin'.

The latest poll, by CNN, shows that Pres. Obama now leading Mr. Romney, 52-46 among likely voters. Before the Democratic National Convention it was tied, 48-48.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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