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WTC dust blamed for illnesses, death

NEW YORK, April 12 (UPI) -- The number of people with medical problems linked to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York has risen to at least 15,000, the BBC reported.

That includes people suffering so-called "World Trade Center cough" from breathing Ground Zero dust. The dust was generated when the WTC's Twin Towers were hit by terrorist-hijacked commercial jets, burst into flames and collapsed.

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The dust was "directly linked" to the January death of policeman James Zadroga, who worked at Ground Zero after the attack, a New Jersey coroner ruled Tuesday.

New Yorker Kelly Colangelo told the BBC's Web site she is worried her health is being damaged.

"We were also exposed and I wonder if in 10-15 years from now," Colangelo said, "am I going to be another victim?"

John Howard, director of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, told the British broadcaster 30,000-50,000 people may have been exposed to WTC dust.

Numerous class-action suits have challenged U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claims shortly after the attacks that the air was safe to breathe.

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