The federal government should say in the next few days whether it will expand an aid program for anyone sickened by World Trade Center dust to cover cancer.
The move by a federal health official would be welcomed by many rescue and recovery workers who had worked at the site, but could prove costly, coming at the expense of people with ailments more conclusively linked to toxic fallout from the September 11th attacks.
60,000 people are already enrolled.
An advisory committee recommended earlier this year that the government open up the $4.3 billion program to people with a broad range of cancers, including the most common forms such as breast cancer and leukemia.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health director has a Saturday deadline to make a decision, though it may not be announced until next week.