Questions Swirl Over Who Will be Covered in WTC Health Act

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AFP/Getty Images
    First responders are still feeling the health effects of working at ground zero.

    Congress closed out 2010 by passing a law that will provide nearly $2.8 billion in cash payments to people sickened by toxic dust at the World Trade Center

    But lawmakers left a big question unanswered in the legislation. They didn't say which illnesses would be covered.

    Only a few diseases were singled out by name in the act, including asthma and a handful of other respiratory ailments.

    Federal administrators still have to decide whether to cover other conditions, like cancer.

    Doctors say deciding which diseases are linked to ground zero and which occurred naturally could be tough.

    Tens of thousands of people were involved in the trade center cleanup. Many are now middle aged, when illnesses of all types become more common.