New-Onset COPD Added to World Trade Center Health Program

 Updated: August 1, 2016

The AARC has learned that first responders and others who developed new-onset COPD following their exposure to the 9/11 terror attacks will now be eligible for benefits through the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program.

COPD was added after the WTC Health Program reviewed peer-reviewed epidemiologic studies regarding potential evidence of COPD among individuals who were responders to or survivors of the September 11, 2001, attacks.  Substantial evidence to support a causal association between the 9/11 exposures and COPD was found in the studies, leading the WTC Health Program administrator to publish a final rule in the Federal Register adding COPD to the list of conditions covered by the program.

Thanks to the rule, which goes into effect on Aug. 4, current and future WTC Health Program members may be eligible for better access to care — including health monitoring, treatment, education, and outreach — and better treatment outcomes than they would have been eligible for had COPD not been added to the program.

WTC Health Program coverage is free of charge to members. In addition to covering those who were exposed to dust and other hazardous conditions as the result of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the program covers first responders and others involved in the terror attacks at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and in Shanksville, PA.