For many people, 9/11 did not end on the day of the attacks or with the conclusion of recovery operations. A growing number of rescue and recovery workers, survivors, and lower Manhattan residents have died and tens of thousands are suffering from chronic illnesses resulting from exposure to toxins at the attack sites. These negative health effects include asthma and other respiratory ailments, mental health issues, and more than 50 types of cancer.
Immediately after 9/11, Americans came together in a spirit of unity. In recent years, individuals with 9/11-related illnesses, health care advocates, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill united in that same spirit to ensure the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The law, first introduced in 2006, was named for a New York City homicide detective who died that year and had worked at Ground Zero. Finally enacted in 2011, then reauthorized in 2015, the Zadroga Act provides financial compensation to people with 9/11-related illnesses. It also established the World Trade Center Health Program, which currently monitors or treats more than 70,000 people living in all 50 states. Already, half of these participants have been diagnosed with at least one 9/11 condition.
Several objects in the collection relate to the ongoing health effects of 9/11 and the fight for legal remedies for injuries, treatment expenses, and loss of work.