NEW YORK - (AP) - Thousands of ground zero responders are beinggiven more time to decide whether to settle lawsuits over theirexposure to toxic dust from the World Trade Center.

Lawyers in the case say they have scrapped a deadline that gaverescue and response workers until Sept. 8 to join or reject asettlement worth as much as $713 million.

The nearly 10,000 police officers, firefighters, andconstruction and utility workers involved in the suits will now getuntil Nov. 8.

The special insurance entity representing New York City in thelitigation says the extension was needed because of "unexpectedlogistical delays."

They said about half of the eligible workers have opted-in sofar.

A few dozen have said "no." The rest have yet to respond.