World Trade Center Health Program

WTC Program Administrator Denies Coverage for Kidney Condition

Lack of evidence keeps kidney disease off list of 9/11-related health conditions.
By: | May 2, 2014 • 2 min read

“On January 22, 2014, the Administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program received a petition to add ‘kidney damage’ to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions,” states a notice in the Federal Register. “The Administrator has not found sufficient scientific evidence to conduct an analysis of whether to add kidney damage and/or disease to the List. Accordingly, the Administrator finds that insufficient evidence exists to request a recommendation of the WTC Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee, to publish a proposed rule, or to publish a determination not to publish a proposed rule.”

With that, the administrator denied the request to add kidney damage to the list of approved health conditions included in those connected with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The program was established within the Department of Health and Human Services and provides medical monitoring and treatment benefits to eligible responders to the tragedies in New York City, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pa.

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The petition to add kidney damage was submitted by a New York firefighter who worked at ground zero on Sept. 11. He presented evidence, including a letter from his nephrologist, as well as information about a forthcoming study that may suggest a “significant link between a high level of exposure to particulate matter by first responders at Ground Zero and the increased level of the protein albumin in their urine.”

A health condition may be added to the list if there is substantial support for a causal relationship between exposure to dust and debris on 9/11 and the health condition. However, the administrator did not find peer-reviewed, published studies that corroborated the connection with chronic kidney disease.

“Since the Administrator is unable to identify sufficient evidence to conduct an analysis of whether to add the health condition, the Administrator is publishing a determination that he cannot take any of the other statutory and regulatory actions,” the notice says.

Nancy Grover is the president of NMG Consulting and the Editor of Workers' Compensation Report, a publication of our parent company, LRP Publications. She can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]