9/11 sateillite image
© NASA. Frank Culbertson
Over a dozen men who were in the vicinity of the World Trade Center after the September 11, 2001, attacks destroyed the two towers have acquired breast cancer - a statistical rarity for men, of whom only 1 percent nationwide will get the illness, the New York Post reported.

When the two 110-story World Trade Towers collapsed after terrorist-piloted airliners smashed into them on the morning of September 11, 2001, the huge pile of rubble and building debris blew an enormous cloud of dust into the sky, and the fires at Ground Zero burned for months, pouring huge amounts of dangerous chemicals used in the office buildings' construction, as well as from the aircraft, into the city air.

"The debris pile acted like a chemical factory," Thomas Cahill, a University of California-Davis professor emeritus of physics and atmospheric science and research professor in engineering, wrote in a 2003 study. "It cooked together the components of the buildings and their contents, including enormous numbers of computers, and gave off gases of toxic metals, acids and organics for at least six weeks."

The New York Post first reported on September 4 that personal injury attorneys Barasch McGarry, whose law firm represents health cases associated with 9/11, has 15 male clients who came down with breast cancer following exposure to the acrid miasma produced by the towers' immolation and collapse.

9/11 smoke towers
© CC BY 2.0 / 9/11 Photos / 9/11 WTC Photo 9/11 World Trade Center Attack
Five of the men were first responders - firemen, police and engineers who fought the blaze and then searched the rubble for survivors and human remains - but the rest were simply folks who happened to work or be near Battery Park where the World Trade Center complex is located. One was a student, the paper noted.

"I do feel like my breast cancer was related to exposure to 9/11 toxins. There's no history of breast cancer in my family," Jeff Flynn, an account manager for data-storage company Dell EMC assigned to Goldman Sachs, just five blocks from Ground Zero, told the NY Post. "I spent months breathing that crap in. You can wind up with any cancer from being down there."

Flynn found out a decade after the event that he had Stage 3 breast cancer, getting lymphatic cancer in his neck three years later.

Another victim, commodities broker John Mormando, who worked at the Mercantile Exchange located in Battery Park, said of his breast cancer, "There is a very strong possibility this is linked to 9/11. There's not a history of cancer in my family."

It's like cancer on steroids," lawyer Michael Barasch told the Post.

The Federal World Trade Center Health Program announced last month that almost 10,000 cancer cases had been found to be tied to the September 11 attacks. Sputnik reported on August 13 that 9,795 people have had cancers deemed 9/11-related, including first responders, residents, students and people who worked in lower Manhattan where the twin 110-story towers collapsed. Of those, 420 have died.

Epidemiology studies have shown that significantly higher rates of many types of cancers have been found among recovery and rescue workers who reported to the site as well as non-responders affected by the dust. Breast cancers are among those listed, Sputnik reported.

"We get these referrals 15 to 20 times a week," Michael Crane, medical director of the WTC Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, told the NY Post last month.

A 2014 study by the Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts, published in the National Institutes of Health journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers come from high-risk inherited genes, while around 80 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer are the first in their families to develop the disease, indicating breast cancer is caused primarily by environmental factors.

The institute identified a laundry list of chemicals, exposure to which increases one's risk of breast cancer, many of which were present, in all likelihood, in the dust and smoldering ruins of the World Trade Towers.

Some of the chemicals noted by the study include "gasoline and chemicals formed by combustion (e.g., benzene and butadiene)... solvents, such as methylene chloride and other halogenated organic solvents used in spot removers, specialty cleaners and industrial degreasers... certain flame retardants; a chemical used in stain-resistant textiles and nonstick coatings; and styrene, which is in tobacco smoke and is also used to make Styrofoam."

Some of the other materials that burned included lead in cables and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in electrical transformers, to say nothing of the enormous amount of building materials dispersed by the collapse itself and subsequent fires, which included cement, steel, gypsum from drywall, glass, synthetic rugs, asbestos used for fireproofing and all manner of plastics, Scientific American noted.

Still, despite the seemingly obvious risk of enormous carcinogenic exposure, the US Environmental Protection Agency conducted very few atmospheric tests in and around Lower Manhattan in the days and months following the disaster, Sputnik reported. Although at the time the agency reported no significant increase in the amount of asbestos (a known carcinogen) in the vapors from the site, a subsequent 2007 study found over 100 times the amount of dioxin (another known carcinogen) in the air near the site as you would find downwind of a garbage incinerator, "the highest ambient measurements of dioxin ever recorded anywhere in the world."

Comment: Sputnik also reports:
'9/11 Is Still Killing': Nearly 10,000 Americans Have Had Cancer Due to WTC Dust

The Federal World Trade Center Health Program, established in 2010 to provide medical benefits to certain groups affected by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, has said the number of people who have died from cancers connected to the attacks is approaching 10,000.

The New York Post reported Saturday that that 9,795 people have had cancers deemed 9/11-related, including first responders, residents, students and people who worked in lower Manhattan where the twin 110-story towers collapsed. Of those, 420 have died.

9/11 is still killing," John Feal, an advocate for WTC responders, told the Post.


Epidemiology studies have shown that both rescue and recovery workers who worked at the site after the collapse have significantly higher rates of thyroid cancer, skin melanoma and bladder cancer than the general population, the Post noted. Other cancers shown by non-responders affected by the dust were breast cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia and other blood cell disorders.


A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on the one-year anniversary of the attacks described what its authors called "World Trade Center cough," which it defined as "a persistent cough that developed after exposure to the site and was accompanied by respiratory symptoms severe enough to require medical leave for at least four weeks." It documented hundreds of firefighters who suffered respiratory symptoms following their working at Ground Zero.

Still, a major problem encountered by investigators is that one in four Americans will develop cancer of some kind at some point in their lives, Scientific American noted, so being able to specifically attribute specific ailments to a 9/11-associated etiology is extremely difficult.

That difficulty is compounded by the fact that, despite the towers having been constructed between 1968 and 1973, a time when many building materials and techniques were used that are now banned, such as asbestos, the US government has been conspicuously phlegmatic in its investigation of the deleterious health effects of exposure to the site.

Few air samples were taken of the acrid miasma that billowed over lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, but of those that were taken, 25 percent showed asbestos levels above the 1 percent threshold that indicates "significant risk," the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a 2003 report.

However, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, EPA administrator Christie Whitman told New Yorkers there was no significant levels of asbestos in the dust cloud, Scientific American noted.


Bizarrely, that same report concluded, "Except for inhalation exposures that may have occurred on 9/11 and a few days afterwards, the ambient air concentration data suggest that persons in the general population were unlikely to suffer short-term or long-term adverse health effects caused by inhalation exposures."


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) said in 2011 that "a determination cannot be made to propose a rule to add cancer, or a type of cancer, to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions at this time." The CDC's decision is vital to getting those affected covered by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, a law that provides health services to certain first responders and volunteers affected by exposure to site materials

The law has been famously controversial, failing to pass for four years after being introduced in Congress in 2006, with lawmakers equivocating over concerns about how expansive the enrollment would be and how the program would be funded. At one point in 2010, comedian Jon Stewart turned his evening TV program into an "advocacy journalism" platform, urging Congressional support for the bill.
For an idea of the extent of smoke and debris clouds even before the collapse of the WTC buildings (not forgetting building 7)

Video Courtesy: New York Police Department Published on 8 Mar 2011

New video of the September 11, 2001 attacks, from a police helicopter hovering near the burning World Trade Center towers in the hope of rescuing survivors from the rooftops. The video is part of a cache of information from the attack handed over by city agencies to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the federal agency that investigated the collapse. Only police helicopters were allowed in the airspace near the skyscrapers, and the officers were the only ones shooting images from above.

Published on 10 Sep 2010

Nine hundred 9/11 heroes have died since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Thousands of others are suffering from various cancers believed to have been caused by toxins at Ground Zero. The US federal government has failed, thus far, to pass 9/11 health legislation that would assist 9/11 responders with medical care.
There are still a great many unanswered questions regarding what really happened that day, and some of those answers may go some way to explaining the unprecedented rates of sickness - the true tally which may never be known: