According to an academic article posted in the NCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, February 2022 edition, the weeks following the 911 World Trade Center attacks, dust and air testing around Ground Zero identified several toxic chemicals that are currently classified as probable human carcinogens by both the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Toxicology Program. The report states that approximately 95,000 rescue and cleanup workers were exposed to harmful fibers, building material dust, diesel exhaust, and toxic particulates carried in over 100,000 truck trips to the designated dumpsite. The report also states that these toxic clouds of dust contained asbestos, metals, polycyclic organic hydrocarbons, glass fibers, phthalate esters, polychlorinated biphenyls, furans, organochlorine pesticides, chlordane, dioxins, and other hydrocarbons. Further, jet fuel, gasoline, heating oil, and diesel oil caught fire and burned vehicles parked in subterranean parking garages for 99 days following the attacks. Cleanup crews were exposed to these carcinogens for approximately nine months.
The World Trade Center rescue workers consisted of firefighters, law enforcement, construction workers, utility workers, transportation workers, cleaning and maintenance personnel, residents, and volunteers. The number of workers and variety of professions make the selection of a “comparable referent group” extremely challenging. The report states that the majority of those exposed to the toxic substances were white males in their thirties and forties at the time of the World Trade Center attacks. Tragically, half of the rescue workers at the Twin Tower collapses were not wearing respiratory protection.
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute article states that the article’s authors combined rescue workers from three cohorts: the World Trade Center Health Registry, the General Responder Cohort, and the Fire Department of the City of New York Cohort. The merged sample size included 69,102 workers, representing 72.4% of all rescue workers. The authors connected cohort members to cancer registries from thirteen states. In addition, they estimated that they contacted and analyzed the medical histories of about 93% of the affected workers. They found that New York State’s cancer incidence was higher in New York as compared to other US states. The study also found that there was a significant incidence of cancers of the thyroid, prostate, tonsil, and melanoma of the skin.
Tragically, those who arrived first at the site of the Twin Tower collapses received the most exposure to the dust clouds, and the study shows this group had a 47% higher cancer diagnosis rate than workers who arrived at the scene later. These workers were mostly law enforcement and firefighters. Moreover, there were notable increases in melanoma and prostate cancer in the first responder group, and this group of heroes is seeing increases in melanoma and prostate cancers.
The article also states that toxic smoke and soot plumes blew predominantly to the east and south toward Brooklyn, and rescue workers who arrived while the fires were still burning had a twofold increased risk (76%) for all forms of cancers compared with workers who began work in 2002 when the fires were finally extinguished. This conclusion is important to New York City residents and workers who were exposed to the toxic plumes during the initial three months. Most of the World Trade Center cohort studies concentrated on local residents and rescue workers in lower Manhattan. However, the study’s authors believe the heavy smoke exposures in Brooklyn must be studied due to lung illnesses observed in western Brooklyn residents.
In this current study, the increased cancer rates caused by September 11 World Trade Center toxic dust exposure has not peaked. Therefore, those exposed to toxic smoke and dust are monitored and provided medical treatment in the coming years.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW
Were you or a loved one exposed to smoke or dust from Ground Zero? Parker Waichman LLP helps those who have sustained injuries and/or those who lost a loved one receive monetary compensation for damages. Trust your case with our Zadroga Act Lawyers. For a free consultation, contact our law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation