Health problems linger 14 years after 9/11

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Health Problems Linger 14 Years After 9-11

The Twin Towers may be gone for 14 years now, but the health problems caused by the attacks are still lingering.

SEE MORE 9/11 SPECIAL COVERAGE: Children of 9/11 want to focus on the future

Earlier this month, dozens of 9/11 first responders gathered at the site of the attacks, demanding Congress extend programs that offer free, specialized healthcare and money to those exposed to deadly dust.

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9/11/2001: The Dust, contributed to illnesses
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Health problems linger 14 years after 9/11
People run from the collapse of World Trade Center Tower in this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, in New York. Charlie Ross is seen fourth from the left. This year will mark the fifth anniversary of the attacks. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett/FILE)
FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 24, 2001 file photo, rescue workers examine the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks in New York. Several experts say there's no hard evidence to support the federal government's declaration this month that 50 kinds of cancer could be caused by exposure to World Trade Center dust. The decision could help hundreds of people get payouts from a multibillion-dollar World Trade Center health fund to repay those ailing after they breathed in toxic dust created by the collapsing twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool, File)
With smoke still drifting from the site of the World Trade Center attacks one week earlier, a truck carries New York City police officers to Ground Zero, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said there was little chance of finding anyone still alive in the smoldering rubble. (AP Photo/David Gochfeld)
In this Sept. 13, 2001 photo, a first responder works in the rubble of the former World Trade Center in New York. A decade’s worth of study has answered only a handful of questions about the hundreds of health conditions believed to be related to the tons of gray dust that fell on the city when the trade center collapsed, from post-traumatic stress disorder, asthma and respiratory illness to vitamin deficiencies, strange rashes and cancer. (AP Photo/Beth Keiser, Pool)
Destroyed mullions, the vertical struts which once faced the soaring outer walls of the World Trade Center towers, are the only things left standing behind a firefighter after a terrorist attack on the twin towers in lower Manhattan Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. The 110-story towers collapsed in a shower of rubble and dust after two hijacked airliners slammed into them. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Destroyed mullions, the vertical struts which once faced the soaring outer walls of the World Trade Center towers, are the only thing left standing behind a dust covered bus stop and subway entrance, after a terrorist attack on the twin towers Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. The 110-story towers collapsed after two hijacked airliners slammed into them. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Policeman wear dust masks as they work in the rubble at the World Trade Center in New York Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001. Clearing the rubble and the search for survivors continues a day after terrorists crashed two hijacked jets into the structure collapsing both towers. (AP Photo/Virgil Case)
FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, a man wipes ash from his face after terrorists flew two airplanes into the World Trade Center towers, causing them to collapse. A federal health official is expected to announce in early June, 2012, whether people with cancer will be covered by an aid program for New Yorkers sickened by World Trade Center dust. An advisory committee recommended in March that the government open up the $4.3 billion program to people who developed cancers after being exposed to the toxic soot that fell on Manhattan when the towers collapsed. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)
FILE- In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, a shell of what was once part of the facade of one of the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center rises above the rubble that remains after both towers were destroyed in the terrorist attacks. New York City has agreed to pay up to $657 million to settle more than 10,000 lawsuits filed by ground zero rescue and response workers who say they were sickened by World Trade Center dust. (AP Photo/Shawn Baldwin, File)
THEN--Survivors of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks make their way through smoke, dust and debris on Fulton St., about a block from the collapsed towers, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 in New York. (AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova)
FIremen walk through a dust and debris covered street in lower Manhattan Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, after a terrorist attack at the World Trade Center. Two jet planes were crashed into the twin towers, collapsing them and covering the area with the debris.(AP Photo/Richard Cohen)
Dust and debris cloud the air near the site of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Bernadette Tuazon)
Police officers and civilians run away from New York's World Trade Center after an additional explosion rocked the buildings Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, 2001. In unprecedented show of terrorist horror, the 110-story World Trade Center towers collapsed in a shower of rubble and dust Tuesday morning after two hijacked airliners carrying scores of passengers slammed into the sides of the twin symbols of American capitalism. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)
Women wearing dust masks flee across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn following the collapse of both World Trade Center towers Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 in New York. The towers previously loomed tall in the skyline behind. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
FILE- In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, a shell of what was once part of the facade of one of the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center rises above the rubble that remains after both towers were destroyed in the terrorist attacks. A decade’s worth of study has answered only a handful of questions about the hundreds of health conditions believed to be related to the tons of gray dust that fell on the city when the trade center collapsed, from post-traumatic stress disorder, asthma and respiratory illness to vitamin deficiencies, strange rashes and cancer. (AP Photo/Shawn Baldwin, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, pedestrians flee the dust-filled area surrounding the World Trade Center following a terrorist attack on the New York landmark. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Dust and debris cover the ground and cloud the air near the site of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Bernadette Tuazon)
People cover their faces from the shower of dust and debris as they leave the area of the attack on New York's World Trade Center, Tuesday Sept. 11, 2001. Terrorists crashed two hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and brought down the twin 110-story towers Tuesday morning. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
People hold towels to their faces and put on masks for protection from the smoke and dust from the collapse of the twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2001. Terrorists crashed two passenger jets into the twin towers causing them to collapse. (AP Photo/Richard Cohen)
Chris Tibbet of Shelton, Conn., stands about two blocks from the World Trade Center in New York Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, as he was photographed by a co-worker in a street covered with dust and debris following the terrorist attack that devastated the World Trade Center. Tibbet and his co-worker Paul Christley were staying at a hotel in the World Trade Center and had just left a few minutes before the attack to go to J.P. Morgan office a block away where Tibbet works and Christley was training employees for a new software application. (AP Photo/Paul Christley)
People cover their faces as they move across the Brooklyn Bridge out of the smoke and dust in Manhattan Tuesday Sept. 11, 2001, after a terrorist attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Terrorists hijacked two airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center in a coordinated series of blows that brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Daniel Shanken)
A fire truck is surrounded by dust and debris near the site of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Bernadette Tuazon)
FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, three people make their way through a cloud of caustic dust after terrorists flew two airliners into the World Trade Center towers in New York. For New Yorkers in or near the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, the sights and sounds of everyday life can still trigger painful memories and strong psychological reactions. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, File)
Destroyed mullions, the vertical struts which once faced the soaring outer walls of the World Trade Center towers, are the only thing left standing behind a lone fireman, after a terrorist attack on the twin towers of lower Manhattan Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In an unprecedented show of terrorist horror, the 110-story towers collapsed in a shower of rubble and dust after two hijacked airliners carrying scores of passengers slammed into the sides of the twin symbols of American capitalism. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Medical and emergency workers, who are standing in front of the Millenium Hilton, look towards where the World Trade Center towers used to be, after a terrorist attack on the twin towers of lower Manhattan Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. In an unprecedented show of terrorist horror, the 110-story towers collapsed in a shower of rubble and dust after two hijacked airliners carrying scores of passengers slammed into the sides of the twin symbols of American capitalism. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
New York, UNITED STATES: TO GO WITH AFP STORY 'Americans mark 9/11 anniversary with new questions on vulnerability' - This 11 September 2001 file photo shows Marcy Borders covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. The woman was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph of an aerial view after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre Site in New York. Dated 2001. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
New York, UNITED STATES: TO GO WITH AFP STORY 'Americans mark 9/11 anniversary with new questions on vulnerability' - (FILES) This file photo dated 11 September 2001 shows Edward Fine covering his mouth as he walks through the debris after the collapse of one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York. Fine was on the 78th floor of 1 World Trade Center when it was hit by a hijacked plane 11 September. Americans mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks Sunday nagged by new burning questions about their readiness to confront a major disaster after the debacle of Hurricane Katrina. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - SEPTEMBER 11: New York Daily News staff photographer David Handschuh is carried from site after his leg was shattered by falling debris while he was photographing the terrorist attack on, and ensuing collapse of, the World Trade Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - SEPTEMBER 11: People scramble for cover under a shower of debris after the World Trade Center is struck in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 in New York City. A hijacked American Airlines Boeing 767, originating from Boston's Logan Airport, struck 1 World Trade Center (north tower) at 8:45 a.m. At 9:03 a.m., a United Airlines 767, also hijacked in Boston, crashed into 2 World Trade Center (south tower). Both towers later collapsed. (Photo by David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images) debris reaction
People run from the collapse of World Trade Center towers in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 after terrorists crashed two hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and brought down the twin 110-story towers. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett)
People run from the collapse of World Trade Center Tower Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 in New York. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett)
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Since 2011, federal programs have offered aid and payment to the ailing ground zero police officers, firefighters, and construction workers who helped in the rescue and recovery efforts. However, those programs are set to expire expire in 2016. If the programs are not extended, there won't be enough money to compensate workers.

SEE MORE 9/11 SPECIAL COVERAGE: Meet Bretagne: The last surviving 'Ground Zero' dog

First responders aren't the only ones who are sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report more than 1,100 people who lived or worked near ground zero have been diagnosed with cancer.

In addition to cancer, the events on 9/11 caused mental disorders as well. According to a study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 17 percent of emergency medical service workers who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center display symptoms of depression -- 7 percent show signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Whenever we refer to the people who ran into the Twin Towers while everyone else was running out, we call them heroes -- but only giving them praise isn't nearly enough.


See more special coverage of the 14th anniversary of 9/11:
Love stories of 9/11 show resilience in the face of grief ​
How the New York City skyline has changed​
14 iconic images of 9/11
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