On June 14, 2012, at the age of 63, entertainer Donna Summers lost her life to lung cancer. It is has been widely reported that prior to her death, Donna Summers believed that the cancer that eventually took her life was caused by her exposure to asbestos and other toxins contained in the dust generated from the World Trade Center terrorist attack of 9/11. Donna Summers was a resident of New York City in September of 2001, when the World Trade Towers fell, scattering debris and asbestos containing dust plumes throughout ground zero and the rest of the City. Analysis of the dust clouds revealed they contained the following materials: gypsum, cement, calcium carbonate, asbestos, lead, glass fibers and other metal particles.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that due to it’s cost, light weight, and heart resistant properties, was integrated into many construction materials and insulation products throughout the great majority of the 20th century. The use of the asbestos occurred despite the asbestos industry’s knowledge that the substance was harmful to human health; causing asbestosis, lung cancer, and malignant pleural mesothelioma – an incurable cancer of the lining of the lungs that has only one known cause, asbestos exposure. There are thousands of asbestos caused lung cancers that are diagnosed in patients every year in the United States. Many of these patients seek compensation for their health bills and for the benefit of their families in the U.S. Court system, and from bankruptcy trusts were hundreds of millions of dollars have been set aside to compensate asbestos victims. Attorney Michael Mandelbrot, founder of the Asbestos Legal Center in San Francisco, doesn’t see this trend ending soon. “The sad reality is that asbestos is contained in the structures all around us, because the asbestos industry chose to either suppress or ignore information that the use of asbestos posed a danger to the public. As these structures degrade, more and more of the population will be exposed to the fiber, leading to more deaths. It is my firm’s commitment to fight for justice of behalf of those suffering from asbestos caused diseases.”
Donna Summers rose to stardom in the 1970’s, for her disco hits, “Love to Love You Baby” and “Last Dance”, and for her 1984 hit, “She Works Hard For The Money.” Her struggle with cancer lasted 10 months from the date of diagnosis, to her death. At the time of her death, her family members released statements that Donna Summers was not a cigarette smoker, and believed her lung cancer was attributable to breathing dust generated from the 9/11 terror attacks.
Experts have compared inhaling the dust from the attacks to inhaling Drano, due to the pH and the size of dust particles in the air. Researchers have linked the dust to a higher than normal per capita incidence rate of asthma attacks occurring in individuals who lived and worked in lower Manhattan. To experts, those same asthma attacks are proof that the toxic asbestos containing dust settled into the lungs of many who lived in proximity to the wreckage site.
In January of 2011, President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a bill setting aside money for health monitoring and treatment of ground zero workers who were exposed to the asbestos containing dust caused by the 9/11 attacks.