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Man added to official 9/11 victims list

Associated Press / June 18, 2011

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NEW YORK — A man who died last year of lung disease was added yesterday to the official list of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

New York City’s medical examiner ruled that Jerry Borg of Manhattan, 63, who died in December, was killed by complications caused by a lung condition he got from inhaling dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Borg had pulmonary sarcoidosis, a disease in which inflamed cells can make someone’s lungs stiff and interfere with normal breathing. The death brings the official count of World Trade Center deaths to 2,753.

The ruling is a rarity. Thousands of people have blamed health problems on trade center dust, but Borg is only the third victim to be added to the medical examiner’s list of Sept. 11 victims.

All three people, including Borg, were working downtown on the day of the attacks and became caught in the dense cloud of pulverized concrete and glass that billowed over lower Manhattan when the twin towers fell.

Felicia Dunn Jones, a 42-year-old civil rights lawyer, fell ill immediately after the attacks, was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, and was dead within five months.

Her death was not ruled as officially caused by the terrorist attacks until 2007.

Leon Heyward, 45, died in 2008 of lymphoma, an illness that has not been conclusively linked to trade center dust, but Charles Hirsch, chief medical examiner, ruled in early 2009 that his cancer was complicated by sarcoidosis. All victims of the terrorist attacks have been classified as homicide victims.

A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office, Ellen Borakove, declined to release additional information about the circumstances of Borg’s illness or personal biography, citing privacy rules.

Congress created a $2.78 billion fund late last year to compensate people who might have been sickened by exposure to trade center dust and ash and set aside $1.5 billion to fund health programs for rescue and cleanup workers.

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