The passage of the Zadroga Bill

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and compensation act of 2010 or Zadroga Bill is a health bill that was recently passed by the U.S House of Representatives and U.S senate. The Zadroga Bill was aimed at providing medical help as well as funding to people who developed serious medical conditions due to toxic and dust exposure caused by 9/11 attack on World Trade Centre. It includes mostly the survivors, site workers, firefighters, workers at ground zero and those involved in the rescue, recovery and debris removal operations. The massive cloud of dust of collapsing twin towers released toxins including asbestos, mercury, silica, lead etc The persons having physical disabilities and financial loses due to 9/11 are also entitled to the alms of the bill. The bill would also ensure medical care to people who developed serious medical conditions due to World trade centre dust, order the research of 9/11 related diseases and will catalyze the reopening of victim’s compensation Fund.

The Zadroga Bill derived its name from James Zadroga (1971-2006) an officer at the New York City police department (NYPD) who died of the respiratory diseases that are believed to have caused by his participation in the rescue operations at the World Trade centre after the attacks. He was the first NYPD officer who succumbed to the respiratory troubles post 9/11. He developed asthma and other respiratory ailments along with a persistent cough and finally death.The causes for his death were debated a lot amongst the various agencies. Few agencies advocated the presence of WTC dust in his lungs where as some agencies termed it as presence of ‘unidentified’ materials in the lungs that had nothing to do with the toxics exposure at WTC and there was a third opinion on the presence of glass fibers in his lungs.

The Zadroga Bill before taking its final shape had to travel the distance of nine long years- a journey full of controversies and disputes. The passage of the bill in itself was a battle that longed for about 8 years. The Zadroga bill filibuster was an attempt to stall and kill the bill but in the end the sponsors’ senator Bob Menendez and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney won it for the injured heroes. The bill was introduced by the federal legislation in order to provide medical benefits to those who were the first responders at the WTC and to those who worked at ground zero and as a result were suffering from fatal diseases. The bill was not passed in its original form and had to be modified into a new version. Initially the bill proposed spending of $ 7.4billion in 10 years which was the major concern. The republicans blocked the bill over the matter of appropriateness of spending such a huge amount. The Republican filibuster was followed by series of discussions and war of words amongst the senators.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and compensation act of 2010 also known as Zadroga Bill received the final approval on December 22, 2010 in its modified form (now spending $ 4.3 billion in 5 years) and President Barack Obama signed it into law on January 2, 2011 thus making it one of the largest respiratory disease lawsuit in the history of America.