Asthma & COPD
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9/11 Asthma & COPD Lawyers

The attack on the World Trade Center filled the New York City sky with a cloud of dust, contaminants, and polluted air. Survivors spent months of being exposed to toxins in the air that made it difficult to breathe. If you or a loved one suffers from respiratory illnesses that are connected to exposure from September 11th, 2001 – especially 9/11 COPD or 9/11 asthma claims – contact the law firm of Pitta & Baione LLP to discuss your potential benefits under the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).


Respiratory illnesses are a common medical concern. Some of these illnesses are results of viruses or bacteria that have spread from person to person, while others are aggravated by environmental conditions. Some conditions are recurring, which means they happen over and over again. Other conditions are chronic, which means they never go away completely. In addition to respiratory illnesses, there are many conditions and types of cancer that are eligible for benefits under the VCF, including cancers of the respiratory system.

Listed below are some respiratory illnesses and cancers that 9/11 survivors may suffer from:

Chronic Bronchitis

Bronchitis is an illness of inflamed air passageways in the lungs. Bronchitis can be a short-term or long-term illness. The inflammation associated with bronchitis can be caused by dust, allergens, or other toxins that were in the 9/11 dust cloud.

Chronic Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a respiratory illness caused by either a virus or bacteria. Another underlying illness will very often cause pneumonia to develop in the body, so multiple illnesses will need to be treated to relieve symptoms. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, muscle ache, headache, and fatigue. Pneumonia viruses are contagious and can transmit easily in crowded areas.

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Were you or a loved one present south of Houston St. between 9/11/01-7/31/02 for any reason?
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Asthma comes in many varieties. Asthma symptoms commonly include coughing, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Asthma can be related to allergies and other non-critical conditions. Sometimes, irritants such as chemicals and dust can cause asthma to develop or make an existing diagnosis worse. When asthma develops or worsens when someone works in a setting with the irritants listed above, his or her condition may be qualified as occupational asthma.

September 11th rescue and first responders were certainly exposed to chemicals, dust, and toxins during recovery efforts that may have resulted in occupational asthma. Thus, those who have a 9/11 asthma claim should strongly consider contacting our law firm.


Many people suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). September 11th survivors were exposed to elements that contributed to their COPD, which included smoke, fire, fumes, and contaminated air during and after the World Trade Center attacks. Because COPD has a number of common symptoms, which do not resolve easily or for long, it is therefore considered as a chronic condition.

Symptoms of COPD include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Additional infections and illnesses of the respiratory system
  • Additional illnesses and conditions which impact other organs and body systems due to not enough oxygen getting through the body.

As a result of COPD, many people experience a reduced ability to care for themselves as the disease progresses due to fatigue and mobility issues. Exercise is recommended for COPD sufferers, but many cannot do so as planned due to breathing problems. Many 9/11 COPD patients are put on oxygen and receive medication to help with breathing, restore oxygen to the body, and relieve discomfort when possible.

Infections of the Respiratory Tract

Respiratory tract infections can be viral or bacterial in nature. These infections are categorized based on the location within the respiratory tract (either the upper respiratory tract or lower respiratory tract). Symptoms of respiratory tract infections include difficulty breathing, congestion, body aches, fatigue, as well as coughing. Respiratory infections can develop from other illnesses, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and common colds. People with weakened immune systems, lung disease, or heart disease are more susceptible to respiratory tract infections.


Respiratory illnesses affect a person’s ability to breathe, which can lead to additional health complications. These complications include:

  • Respiratory arrest, where the lungs stop functioning
  • Respiratory failure, which increases the carbon dioxide in the blood due to lungs not functioning correctly, resulting in the blood not getting enough oxygen
  • Congestive heart failure


Treatments for respiratory illnesses depend on the specific type of illness and the symptoms of the patient. If the patient has recurring bacterial infections in the respiratory tract, antibiotics may be prescribed to kill the infection – but a virus does not respond to antibiotics. Rather, treatment of symptoms may be more appropriate.

Many people with breathing issues that are associated with respiratory illness will be prescribed an inhaler, or an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce inflammation in the lungs and airways to allow air to pass more easily. Some patients may need supplemental oxygen to ensure their body is getting enough to support breathing functions.

Reducing exposure to irritants may help some people avoid respiratory illnesses. Avoiding smoke, dust, and other environmental or occupational risk factors for respiratory illness can help to either prevent a worsening of chronic conditions or the development of new conditions due to already weakened respiratory systems. Some 9/11 survivors require continual monitoring of their respiratory illnesses and must take care to isolate when there are other diseases being spread, so that they do not suffer from more severe respiratory conditions as complications of their current illnesses.

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If you or a loved one suffer from a respiratory illness, such as 9/11 asthma or COPD that’s related to exposure from September 11th, contact an attorney at Pitta & Baione LLP by completing our online contact form or calling us at 844-901-1312.

Blood & Lymphoid Cancer

Digestive System Cancer

  • Colon
  • Esophagus
  • Liver and intrahepatic bile ducts
  • Other and ill-defined digestive organ conditions
  • Rectosigmoid junction
  • Rectum
  • Retroperitoneumand peritoneum
  • Stomach

Eye and Orbital Cancer

Female Breast Cancer

The WTCHP recognized the link between exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), other toxins, and the development of breast cancer. The WTCHP allows 9/11 breast cancer victims to receive medical treatment and also provides monitoring to first responders and survivors for proper screening of all 9/11-related medical conditions.

Brain Cancer

Exposure to the harmful post-9/11 elements increased the chance of brain cancer in survivors.

Examples of VCF eligible primary brain cancers include, but are not limited to, the malignant forms of:

  • Gliomas: Tumors that begin in the brain or spinal cord
    • Astrocytoma
    • Ependymoma
    • Glioblastoma
    • Oligodendroglioma
  • Meningiomas: Tumors that arise from the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord
  • Acoustic neuromas: Tumors that develop on the nerves that control balance and hearing
  • Pituitary carcinomas: Tumors that develop in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain
  • Medulloblastomas: Tumors that begin in the lower back part of the brain and spread through spinal fluid

Ovarian Cancer

Most cases of ovarian cancer require surgery to remove the cancer and often will require a series of surgeries. As with other cancers, chemotherapy and radiation may be used to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors.

Some possible symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach or heartburn
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual changes

Respiratory System Cancer

  • Bronchus and lung
  • Heart, mediastinum, and pleura
  • Other and ill-defined sites in the respiratory system and intrathoracic organs
  • Trachea

Thyroid Cancer

Uterine Cancer

9/11 uterine cancer patients qualify to receive federally-funded medical monitoring and treatment as well as potential compensation through the VCF.

Uterine cancer has various subtypes. These subtypes include:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Uterine papillary serous carcinoma
  • Uterine clear cell carcinoma
  • Uterine carcinosarcoma (CS)
  • Uterine sarcoma

Rare Cancers

  • Malignant neoplasms of the adrenal gland and other endocrine glands and related structures
  • Anus and anal canal
  • Bone and articular cartilage
  • Breast among men
  • Gallbladder and other parts of biliary tract
  • Meninges, brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, and other parts of central nervous system
  • Pancreas
  • Penis and testis
  • Placenta
  • Small intestine
  • Thymus
  • Vulva, vagina, and cervix uteri (invasive only)
  • Malignant neuroendocrine neoplasm, including carcinoid tumors
  • Myeloid neoplasms, including myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative neoplasms, myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms, and myeloid malignancies associated with eosinophilia and abnormalities of growth factor receptors derived from platelets or fibroblasts
  • Other cancers that meet the threshold incidence rate of less than 15 cases per 100,000 persons per year based on age-adjusted 2005-2009 average annual data.


Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is found in the mesothelium tissue of the body. This tissue lines a number of vital organs, including the lungs, stomach, and heart.

Symptoms generally include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent, dry cough
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Chest tightness or pain

Aerodigestive Disorders

Musculoskeletal Disorders

  • Responders who received treatment for a WTC-related musculoskeletal disorder, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or lower back pain, on or before September 11, 2003 are eligible for coverage.

Acute Traumatic Injury

Responders and survivors who received treatment for a WTC-related acute traumatic injury on or before September 11, 2003 are eligible for coverage. Examples include:

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No one should have to bear the costs of battling a 9/11 cancer or illness alone. It only takes a few minutes to see if you may be eligible for free healthcare benefits and other compensation. Having a lawyer by your side can help you maximize the benefits you receive, and ensure your rights are protected.
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