9/11 Lung Problems ContinueFeb 5, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
More than seven years later, September 11th responders continue to have lung problems, according to a new study detailed by the Associated Press (AP). The researchers concluded that many of the September 11th terrorist attack responders continue to suffer from lung problems today, indicating that the toxic dust—a result of the Manhattan attacks—causes so-called “persistent” health issues, said the AP.
The study was conducted by Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Medical Monitoring Program, in which over 3,100 responders were studied between 2004-2007 with repeated assessments performed between mid 2002 and 2004, said the AP. The study appears in today’s edition of the journal CHEST, which is published by the American College of Chest Physicians.
The Daily News noted that most responders involved are police officers, firemen, and construction workers who fell ill after working at the Ground Zero site and who are suffering from ongoing health problems such as asthma, reactive airway disease, and shortness of breath. According to the AP, over 24 percent of the patients studied suffered from abnormal lung function, down slightly from 28 percent from earlier exams. “We know people we are following are still sick. It’s confirming what we’ve been seeing clinically,” said Dr. Jacqueline M. Moline, study co-author, quoted the AP.
The Mount Sinai program has treated over 26,000 patients who were either at the World Trade Center site the day of the terrorist attacks or worked there following the events. And, while the program was voluntary and does not account for people exposed but not involved in the program, Norman H. Edelman, American Lung Association’s chief medical officer noted that the study is “probably an important finding” regarding such long-term illnesses resulting from the events at Ground Zero, said the AP. The Daily News pointed out that the study could assist in creating standards for post-September 11th illnesses, something that has been difficult to define.
The AP also reported that Manhattan’s medical examiner just added a man who died in October from cancer and lung disease to the official 9/11 victims’ list, indicating that exposure to the Ground Zero dust cloud was responsible for his illness and subsequent death, said the AP.
Meanwhile, an earlier study conducted by the New York City Health Department confirmed that children exposed to World Trade Center dust are at much higher risk for respiratory problems; in some cases children are twice as likely as their peers to develop asthma. That survey included 3,100 children enrolled in NY City’s WTC Health Registry and revealed that being caught in the WTC dust cloud immediately following the September 11th attack was the single greatest risk factor for developing respiratory problems.
Also, last year, another study found that those Americans who said they became anxious and stressed after the September 11th terrorist attacks—some from merely watching the collapse of New York’s Twin Towers on television—reported higher rates of heart disease up to three years later, researchers said.