The 53-year-old says he was once a smoker, but believes the toxic air he breathed is responsible for the prostate cancer he was diagnosed with three years ago and the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease he suffers today.

“What happened was it progressed from every now and then you would get sick,” said Gleason. “And then the doctor tells me it’s chronic bronchitis. You get a name and you think it’s nothing. Then the next thing you know, five years go by and it’s telling you have full-blown COPD.”

On Wednesday, he was at the World Trade Center Health Program’s new clinic in Lower Manhattan, going through a nearly two-hour health exam to determine if his illnesses were likely caused by the attack.

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