BROOKLYN - Fear of a rise in the death toll from Sept. 11 has sparked one local congressman to hold a hearing Monday on the health issues plaguing first responders and survivors.

Congressman Edolphus Towns (D-Brooklyn) is just one lawmaker concerned that the number of victims from the terror attacks could far surpass the 3,000 mark. According to Towns, some 6,500 people are battling physical illnesses and some 4,500 are fighting mental illnesses. He says some 34,000 people are having their health tracked in medical monitoring programs, but he questions whether such programs work.

During the hearing at Borough Hall, Towns and fellow Congress members heard expert testimony. The lawmakers are demanding there be federal accountability, since many of the first responders and survivors have been denied medical treatment.