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The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 2, 2011. It was named after an NYPD officer who died of respiratory problems that were attributed to his work in the toxic dust at Ground Zero in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

The Act provides 4.2 billion dollars in compensation funds to rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero, including fire-fighters, police officers and first responders. A 7.4 billion dollar version of the Act had been approved by the US House of Representatives in September 2010 but it was blocked by Republicans in the Senate who wanted to resolve outstanding issues on tax cuts for wealthy households and also their concerns over how the bill was to be funded.

Claims by cancer sufferers however will not be covered by the compensation package; in July the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health deemed that there was insufficient scientific evidence linking cancer to working at Ground Zero.

That assessment has been challenged by other research, including a report published in medical journal The Lancet, which suggests that fire-fighters present at Ground Zero had a 32 percent higher incidence rate of cancer than fire-fighters who were not exposed to Ground Zero conditions.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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