Mesothelioma and Asbestos Alert: 9/11 First Responders Seeking Government Aid for Health Problems

/EIN News/ September 11, 2009

Police and emergency response personnel who were on the scene at Ground Zero on 9/11 have long attributed some of their health problems to debris and toxins like asbestos that were present in the air. Asbestos exposure is linked to a variety of respiratory conditions, including mesothelioma and asbestosis, both of which are often fatal. Now, a group is trying to secure aid for those who were sickened while working at Ground Zero.

Mike Valentin, a former New York Police Department detective, was at Ground Zero. He recalled: “I literally thought it was a movie that was on and it was just playing…And I was trying to hit pause and it wouldn’t stop. It really was surreal.”

And now, Valentin is ill. “I was hired a healthy police officer…I ran five to eight miles a day. And once the towers came down, there went my health.” Valentin is now President of the 9/11 Police Aid Foundation organization.

“Our fate is sealed – we know that,” he said of his illness and others. “But I couldn’t go leaving this world knowing that my brothers and sisters weren’t taken care of. And this is an issue that needs to be brought up to the United States government.”

Valentin has an inoperable mass between his trachea and aorta that he attributes to asbestos and other toxins that allegedly gave him lymphoma. He now lives in Illinois. “It was a very-known fact that there was asbestos in the air,” Valentin said. The issue of asbestos exposure on 9/11 has been on the minds of all emergency responders, volunteers, and NYC residents since the attacks.

“We considered them heroes in that first day and in those two weeks afterwards,” said Illinois Senator Dave Koehler. “Help us to consider them heroes even today as now many of those first responders suffer from the ill effects of that toxic air which gives them cancer and gives them other diseases.”