Feds propose 9/11 health program, slated to include 50 cancers

Federal officials say a health program for first responders and New Yorkers stricken by toxic dust unleashed in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center should be expanded to include 50 types of cancer.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health unveiled a proposal Friday for a major expansion of an existing 9/11 health program. The expansion would make affected workers and residents eligible for free treatment and potentially hefty compensation payments.

The decision follows a March recommendation by an advisory committee that cancer be added to the $4.3 billion program.

Previously, it has only covered people with a short list of less-serious ailments, including respiratory problems like asthma.

The expansion proposal will be open for public comment before it takes effect.