9/11 WTC Air and Lung Disease Casualty

New York Daily News – Home – WTC air doomed ex-cop

An autopsy of a retired NYPD detective confirmed yesterday what his family and fellow cops long suspected – that James Zadroga’s death was “directly related” to the Ground Zero cleanup.

The stunning findings are believed to mark the first time the death of a cleanup worker has been officially tied to the aftermath of the terror attacks.

“It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident,” Dr. Gerard Breton, a pathologist at the Ocean County, N.J., medical examiner’s office wrote in the Feb. 28 autopsy report.

Zadroga died on Jan. 5 of pulmonary disease and respiratory failure – and he had lung-tissue inflammation Breton attributed to “a history of exposure to toxic fumes and dust.”

Zadroga spent more than 450 hours at Ground Zero, digging through debris and inhaling the noxious gases that are believed to be related to death.

“On Sept. 11, 2001, James Zadroga was a 29-year-old healthy human being,” Palladino said.

But after his work at the 9/11 site, the nonsmoker’s health “began to deteriorate rapidly,” Palladino added.

Zadroga developed respiratory ailments, had difficulty breathing and was found to have fiberglass in his lungs, Palladino said.

The cop retired on a disability on Nov. 1, 2004. The 34-year-old widower died at his parents home in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., just over 14 months later.

In January, the Daily News revealed that 22 other men, most in their 30s and 40s, have died from causes their families say were accelerated by working at Ground Zero after the attacks.

Yesterday, Palladino said that nearly 400 NYPD detectives are suffering from symptoms believed to have been brought on by their work at the disaster site.

April 12, 2006

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