August 14, 2006
Dear Dr. Howard,
We are aware of requests and suggestions that you've recently received by way of input into your imminent report on health needs resulting from 9/11. In addition, we would like to submit the urgent comment that some cancers and other illnesses resulting from the exposures to contaminants released on that day and in the fires that burned for over three months will not manifest themselves for several decades. Therefore it is imperative that healthcare be extended beyond twenty years, the number that has recently been put forth as a trial balloon.
That trial balloon will not fly. Environmental and medical professionals have been saying for several years that it is only AFTER twenty years that we can expect to see an explosion of cancers (among other illnesses.) For any health treatment program to close up shop at the moment at which this explosion begins would be a tragic black comedy. Health care needs to continue as long as illnesses remain. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney acknowledged as much last week in response to a question at her press conference for Ground Zero workers.
Thank you greatly for your consideration. We look forward to reading your report.
Jenna Orkin, Spokesperson
World Trade Center Environmental Organization