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FDNY deaths from 9/11 complications are nearly equal to the number of FDNY deaths on that day

9/11: The FDNY | 60 Minutes
9/11: The FDNY | 60 Minutes 41:21

Monday marks 22 years since the 9/11 terror attacks — and the FDNY is still counting deaths from illnesses resulting from the recovery efforts after the attacks. The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York says 343 New York City firefighters died on Sept. 11, 2001 — and in the years since, 341 more members of the FDNY have died from related causes.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed on 9/11 after attackers from the Al Qaeda terrorist group hijacked four planes, crashing two into the Twin Towers at New York City's World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and one into a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought back.

A New York firefighter looks at the names on the 9/11 memorial pool on the 22nd anniversary of the terror attack on the World Trade Center, in New York City on Sept. 11, 2023. BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images

Hundreds of subsequent deaths have occurred as a result of the toxins at Ground Zero, the site where the Twin Towers once stood. 

"Today is the 22nd anniversary of the September 11th Terrorist Attacks, a day that we will always remember as one of the saddest days for our city and our country, and the worst day for the FDNY," the association wrote on Facebook. "There are no words that can fully express how much we miss the people we lost on September 11th 2001, and all those who have died because of illnesses caused by the World Trade Center toxins."

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the September 11th Terrorist Attacks, a day that we will always remember as one of the...

Posted by Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York on Monday, September 11, 2023

In the years after the attacks, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum was built in downtown Manhattan, where the towers once stood, to honor those who died on that day and since. 

The names of all the victims are etched into the memorial, and this year another 43 names of those who died from illnesses related to the event were added, the FDNY announced last week. This is the second-largest group to be added to the memorial since it opened in 2011, when 55 new names were added.

In 2018, Dr. Michael Crane, an associate professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said nearly 10,000 first responders who were in the area that day had been diagnosed with cancer since. The number of post-9/11 deaths attributed to complications from that day were expected to top the number of deaths on 9/11, Crane said.

In 2021, New York City's World Trade Center Health Registry said new data showed gastroesophageal reflux symptoms, known as GERS, asthma and PTSD were frequently reported by people exposed to the toxins on 9/11. GERS occurs when acid from the stomach "repeatedly flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach," according to the Mayo Clinic.

These are just some health complications experienced by those impacted by 9/11. Between 2003 and 2008, more 9/11 recovery workers were diagnosed with prostate cancer, thyroid cancer and multiple myeloma than expected, in comparison with the general population of the state, according to the registry.

From 2007-2011 the registry recorded 11% more cancer cases than expected in 9/11 recovery workers and 8% more than expected among 9/11 survivors in comparison with the state's population. 

Several laws have been enacted to help address health care and offer compensation to those affected by the attacks and recovery, including the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which comedian John Stewart famously advocated for. The act, which includes the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for workers and residents who were near Ground Zero on 9/11 and were affected by the toxins and dust during recovery, was renewed in 2019. 

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