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
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
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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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