A key Senate Committee has included an additional $55 million in federal funding for the mounting health needs of workers exposed to toxic substances during rescue and clean up following the Sep. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The money would be used for treatment, screening, and monitoring administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to expand the program beyond rescue workers to provide services to area residents, office and commercial workers, volunteers, students, and other individuals who were exposed to environmental hazards.
Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer said the legislation would provide comprehensive medical services for the thousands of ill and injured as well as the development of long-term, comprehensive screening and monitoring.
More than five years after the attacks, thousands of area residents, rescue and recovery workers are suffering from asthma, chronic sinusitis, and gastrointestinal conditions. Post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and other health effects have also been diagnosed among many of those exposed.Ã‚Â