Some Who Covered 9/11 Now Experiencing Health Woes, Group Says

By: Daryl Lang, Photo District News

The New York Press Photographers Association is asking members of the media to come forward if they are suffering from long-term health effects of covering the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

David Handschuh, the NYPPA intergovernmental affairs chair and a photographer for the New York Daily News, says he has heard from about a dozen 9/11 media workers who are experiencing health problems. Handschuh, who was hit by debris and suffered a broken leg while covering the attack, said he is among those now experiencing breathing problems.

Much attention has been devoted to public safety workers who suffer from breathing problems and other health issues years after inhaling dust while working near Ground Zero. The plight of these rescuers features prominently in the Michael Moore film “Sicko.”

New York state recently extended the deadline for rescue and recovery workers, including volunteers, to apply for workers compensation benefits. The new deadline is August 14, 2008.

The NYPPA supports the benefits for public safety workers and is lobbying the state to extend the same benefits to media personnel, including freelancers.

“As journalists every day we go out and fight for the underdog. In this case we’re the underdog and need to go out and fight for ourselves,” Handschuh says.

As part of the effort, Handschuh invites those effected to contact him at H2Photo@Optonline.net or by phone at 212-210-2344. Handschuh also encourages media personnel to file a WTC-12 form with the state seeking benefits, even though it is likely to be rejected.

Additional information is available on the NYPPA Web site.

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