Rep. Sherrill Urges World Trade Center Health Program to Expedite Decision on Including Uterine Cancer as Covered Condition
Washington, DC -- Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) led a group of Members of Congress on a bipartisan letter to the Program Administrator for the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), Dr. John Howard, to request a speedy decision on the inclusion of uterine cancer as a covered condition within the WTCHP.
“We applaud the good work that the WTCHP continues to do for those that it serves,” the lawmakers wrote. “This work honors the lives of those impacted directly by the tragedy of 9/11. However, for the women impacted by the decision not to include uterine cancer as a certified condition, this work remains undone. The women whose lives have been affected by this disaster deserve a prompt decision in light of new evidence.”
The WTCHP provides medical benefits to those affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It currently covers a number of different types of cancers, but does not include uterine cancer. However, recent evidence suggests there is a link between uterine cancer and dust from the World Trade Center. Scientists and physicians from the Rutgers WTCHP Clinical Center of Excellence submitted a petition to add uterine cancer as a covered condition in September 2020, but they have yet to receive a response. The letter urges the WTCHP to make a prompt decision and act swiftly to assist women affected by this oversight.
Find the full text of the letter here:
John Howard, M.D.
Program Administrator, World Trade Center Health Program
Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dear Dr. Howard,
We write today to express our interest in your decision regarding the inclusion of uterine cancer as a World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) covered condition. As you know, while women were active participants in the rescue and recovery efforts after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City, they were comparatively underrepresented among first responders. As such, we have concerns that current programs may not properly meet the unique health needs of those brave women.
In September 2020, a team of scientists and physicians at Rutgers’ Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, a WTCHP Center of Excellence, led a petition to add uterine cancer to the list of WTCHP covered conditions. In that petition, they noted that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been referenced in recent years as possibly contributing to the development of endometrial cancer, a form of uterine cancer. Many chemicals from the WTC dust have been cited as EDCs, including polychlorinated dibenzoparadoxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans. Given the new research into endocrine disruptors, this petition should be considered with new scrutiny, as we believe WTC dust had a direct impact on women present at the WTC site on and after 9/11 later developing uterine cancer.
As you are aware, many other cancers of the female and male reproductive system have been included in the WTCHP as covered conditions, including: ovarian; placenta; vulva; vagina; cervix uteri; prostate; penis; and testicular cancers. Given that exposure contributes to cancer throughout the reproductive system, it seems likely that it could also contribute to cancer in the uterus.
We applaud the good work that the WTCHP continues to do for those that it serves. This work honors the lives of those impacted directly by the tragedy of 9/11. However, for the women impacted by the decision not to include uterine cancer as a certified condition, this work remains undone. The women whose lives have been affected by this disaster deserve a prompt decision in light of new evidence.
We look forward to your prompt reply on this very urgent matter.
Christopher H. Smith
Donald M. Payne, Jr.
Bonnie Watson Coleman
Jeff Van Drew
Yvette D. Clarke
Carolyn B. Maloney
Thomas R. Suozzi
Nydia M. Velázquez
Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Rosa L. DeLauro