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Thousands who lived or worked in lower Manhattan on 9/11 were exposed to toxic fumes from destroyed tower

John Mormando was in the best shape of his life – a marathon runner and triathlete training for an Ironman competition – when he noticed a small bump on his chest this past March.

He had it checked out by a doctor, and soon received the shocking diagnosis: breast cancer.

“I was floored. I was totally floored,” he said.

Mormando, 51, was at a loss to explain his rare diagnosis – fewer than 1% of breast cancer cases occur in men, and he has no family history of the disease. Then colleagues reminded him of the months he worked close to the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center.

Tens of thousands of people who lived or worked in the neighborhood at the time found themselves breathing in air thick with toxic fumes and particles from the pulverized, burning skyscrapers. Many have since become sick, many have died and new cases are still occurring all the time that are linked back to the poisons that were in the air around the wreckage. The latest example is a cluster of men who have developed breast cancer, including Mormando.

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