Bill Would Honor Sick Sept. 11 Workers

The Associated Press
Sunday, January 28, 2007; 7:50 PM

NEW YORK -- The museum planned for ground zero should include a memorial to workers who died after becoming ill during recovery and cleanup of World Trade Center debris, two state lawmakers said Sunday.

Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, a Queens Democrat, and Republican Sen. Martin Golden of Brooklyn said they would introduce legislation in Albany to ensure those workers are recognized.

"We want to tell the story of the 9/11 workers who rushed here to help put the city back on its feet, who got sick because they did that, and now unfortunately many of them have died," Gianaris said at a news conference attended by ailing first responders and family members.

The Bush administration, along with state and local governments, have been criticized for being slow to acknowledge that many people developed debilitating illnesses from exposure to toxic materials at ground zero.

Golden said a full accounting of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the twin towers, which killed nearly 2,800 people, would have to include the effects on the health of first responders and others who toiled at the trade center rubble.

The event came a day after the funeral of police officer Cesar Borja, 58, who died of lung disease believed to have resulted from ground zero recovery activity.

A spokeswoman for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, which is building the memorial and museum, said content for the museum is still in the planning stages but "we know that the story of the recovery effort and those who worked on the cleanup will be included."

"What happened at the site in the aftermath of the attacks will be an important aspect of the museum," spokeswoman Lynn Rasic said.

© 2007 The Associated Press