Cancer rates among police officers who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York have tripled, according to new figures.

Cancer rates have soared among police who responded to the World Trade Center atrocities Photo: AP Photo/NYPD, via ABC News, Det. Greg Semendinger

Smoke and ash engulf lower Manhattan as one of the towers collapses

By Rosa Prince, New York
06 Feb 2012

Of the 12,000 who attended the scene of the atrocity at the World Trade Center 10 years ago, 297 have been diagnosed with cancer, almost triple the incidence before the attack.

A report said that 56 who have been diagnosed had since died.

Residents of lower Manhattan have long claimed that the dust and ash clouds triggered by the long-burning fires at the site of the twin towers were toxic.

Figures released by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) appear to bear out the theory, with cancer rates among NYPD officers who attended the disaster running at 16 a year compared to six before the attacks. The average age they were forced to leave the force due to their ill-health was 44.

Lung cancer was the most common form of the disease among officers, although there were more rare varieties including cancers of the bile duct, tongue and nasal passages.

The figures are likely to fuel campaigners who want to include cancers on the list of ailments which qualify Ground Zero workers for compensation.

Under the Zadroga Act, named for Detective James Zadroga who died of a respiratory disease after taking part in the recovery operation, sick 9/11 workers are entitled to health screening and financial benefits.

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