"Cancer Question Complicates 9/11 Compensation Deal"

"NEW YORK -- Of all the illnesses people fear might be caused by toxic dust from the World Trade Center, nothing scares people like cancer.

Hundreds of people are suing New York City over cancer diagnoses they received after working at ground zero. A judge last week rejected a $575 million legal settlement for thousands of sick 9/11 responders in part because he thought it should contain more money for cancer victims.

Yet, statistics show that cancer rates among those who worked in trade center rubble are in line with rates among the general public.

The three major research efforts tracking the health of ground zero responders have so far failed to turn up evidence linking any type of cancer to the dust.

Many of the cancers now afflicting ground zero workers are common. There are plenty of theories as to how the dust might cause cancer, but little proof. Even the scientists most concerned about a potential tie say the length of time it takes for many cancers to develop means it could be years before cases related to 9/11 begin to emerge.

That lack of evidence has complicated efforts to craft a compensation package for sick workers."

David B. Caruso reports for the Associated Press March 27, 2010.

Source: AP, 03/29/2010