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Insurance Coverage Added for Post-9/11 Illnesses

Exposure to toxins at Ground Zero resulted in higher risk for cancer, an advisory committee said.

First responders, volunteers and surviving victims of the September 11 attacks have suffered from a wide variety of illnesses and conditions caused by exposure to smoke and toxins at the World Trade Center site.

On Monday, the federal government added 58 types of cancer to the list of illnesses that will be eligible for coverage, according to cnn.com.

"The publication of this final rule marks an important step in the effort to provide needed treatment and care for 9/11 responders and survivors through the WTC [World Trade Center] Health Program," Dr. John Howard, the program's administrator, said in a statement Monday.

Those who meet qualifications — and the estimate is that 950 to 2,150 people will — could activate the coverage. Experts told CNN that cancer may develop decades after exposure.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the decision on Monday.

"We have urged from the very beginning that the decision whether or not to include cancer be based on science; Dr. Howard's decision, made after thorough consideration of the latest available research and data, will continue to ensure that those who have become ill due to the heinous attacks on 9/11 will get the medical care they need and deserve," Bloomberg said.

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