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Mayor Accepts 9/11 Health Panel Recommendations

NEW YORK- Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had been publicly skeptical of the link between toxins from the collapsing towers and health problems, has now accepted findings and recommendations from the city's World Trade Center Health Panel.

Bloomberg called upon the Federal Government to fund continued treatment for rescuers, office workers, and local residents. "They deserve first-class care without exception," said Bloomberg. The mayor added that workers and residents who have stayed in Lower Manhattan, "lifted the city in our time of greatest need."

The city's World Trade Center Health Panel, convened last September by Deputy Mayors Linda Gibbs and Ed Skyler submitted an 83 page report about health risks from the attacks. Panel members consulted with medical physicians, community groups and representatives from city agencies.

Bloomberg hopes his acceptance will raise much needed funding for the city which has been financially strained by treatment requests. President Bush authorized some federal funding through 2007 but the panel argues that the expanding treatment programs will cost another $150 million.

The mayor announced the city will stop fighting injured workers' lawsuits and ask the government to revive the 9/11 Victims' Compensation Fund to compensate WTC workers.

In addition the city will replace the Red Cross' mental health benefit, that expires at the end of 2007, and create a medical advisory panel to regularly assess the latest medical techniques to treat 9/11 related conditions including pulmonary fibrosis and mesothelioma.