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Senate Panel Examines Post 9/11 Health Problems

Washington, DC - Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) chaired a congressional committee hearing focusing on 9/11 related health problems. The hearing by the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) was the first Senate hearing related to those diagnosed with respiratory problems following 9/11.

Sen. Clinton began the proceedings by reading individual testimonials of rescuers and residents affected by the toxic dust released when the buildings collapsed.

Senators heard testimony from doctors, clinical researchers, rescuers, and the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. The audience included firefighters, police officers, paramedics, former workers, and residents of lower Manhattan.

The Senate panel unveiled the 9/11 Heroes Health Improvement Act which authorizes $1.9 billion to be allocated to cover health care costs and fund future studies.

Studies conducted by the FDNY and Mt. Sinai Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine proved a connection between increased reports of severe respiratory illness and the collapse of the twin towers which left toxins like asbestos, mercury, and pulverized concrete in the air around lower Manhattan for weeks.