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New York City residents are fighting disease after 9/11

Updated September 11, 2019 8:17 PM EDT

New York – Nearly 3,000 people were killed on 9/11 and since then more than 2,000 have died from 9/11-related diseases . It is estimated that 400,000 were exposed to poisons at ground zero and not just the first responders.

Thousands breathed in air contaminated with powdered building materials, microscopic shards of glass and asbestos for months. So did Amit Friedlander, who was a student at Stuyvesant High School just three blocks from the ground floor. CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz was also a Stuyvesant student on 9/1


At the age of 22, Friedlander successfully battled Hodgkin lymphoma.

"In retrospect, I think my cancer is probably 9/11-related and now that I know that if I could go back in time, maybe I wouldn't have gone back to school," Friedlander told Diaz. [19659003] More than 68 cancers are on the list of 9/11-related diseases identified by the federal government, ranging from asthma to skin cancer. Fewer than 100,000 people, just a quarter of civilians and first responders who have been exposed, have signed up to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention for the World Health Program, which provides screening and treatment. Of these, more than 52,000 have 9/11-related diseases.

Former NYC high school students remember living until 9/11: "It felt like the buildings were crashing on us"

"We are increasing the number of cancers, especially those that may be related to longer acting and longer poisons like asbestos, "Dr. Michael Crane, who runs the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital.

It is a cloud that hangs over many Stuyvesant High School alumni.

"Cathy's # 1 reason I'm here today, 9-11 is not something I usually talk about. But that's, it's so important, you know?" said Jukay Hsu.

Stuyvesant alum Cathy Choy died this year of stomach cancer. She was only 32 years old.

A classmate who has become a lawyer for health care on September 11 said she knows of 20 cases of 9/11-related cancers among classmates. Health officials said it was critical that everyone, not just the first responders, but the people who lived, worked and went to school, should be given free view.

There are health care services and screenings for people who were in central Manhattan at the time of the attacks. Anyone who went to school, lived or worked down Hudson Street is eligible for the World Trade Center Health Program.

For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/wtc/ or call 1-888-982-4748. For questions about the process or assistance with applying, visit www.stuyhealth.org or email [email protected]

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