- Associated Press - Friday, November 19, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 10,000 people have joined a legal settlement that will pay hundreds of millions of dollars to ground zero workers exposed to toxic World Trade Center dust.

The near-universal acceptance of the deal was announced by a court Friday.

It will mean an end to most litigation over New York City’s failure to provide protective equipment to construction workers, police and firefighters who cleared rubble.

Only around 500 of the thousands who sued the city over the cleanup declined to take the offer.

At least 95 percent had to sign on to make the deal effective. It just cleared that hurdle, with 95.1 percent.

The settlement will provide at least $625 million. Related deals could boost that total to more than $725 million.

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