News / USA

NYC 9/11 Rescuers Experience Lingering Health Problems

Carol Pearson

Nearly 3,000 people died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. But the twin towers' collapse and their smoldering ruins also exposed thousands of rescuers, firefighters and cleanup crews to toxic ash and smoke. Ten years later, medical researchers say many of these people are suffering higher-than-normal rates of serious disease and psychological problems.

When the World Trade Center towers collapsed into the neighborhood below on September 11, 2001, roiling clouds of smoke and dust filled the air with toxic chemicals.  New York City's police and firefighters ran into those toxic clouds to save whomever they could.

Now, studies show that large numbers of these rescuers and cleanup workers are likely to suffer illnesses related to their 9/11 experience for the rest of their lives.

Dr. Michael Crane, who heads the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says some 20,000 September 11 responders have been treated in the program. Dr. Crane contributed to a study published in the medical journal Lancet on the 9/11 health problems.

"Asthma, from the irritation of the bronchial tubes, rhinitis, the inflammation of the nose, laryngitis, sinusitis, the fever and face pain and the nasal stuffiness that it brings," said Crane.  "All of these are now chronic."

Ken George was a recovery worker who spent 700 hours in the dust and debris with fellow responders.

"Every morning I wake up I've got to take 33 pills within the course of the day," said George.  "At 47-years-old I have lungs of an 80-year-old man that would have been a smoker. People say you have to forget about 9/11 and I say, 'How could I forget about 9/11 when every morning I got to take this medication and walk around with an oxygen tank?'"

Doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital also noticed that a lot of the responders suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and extreme anxiety.

"Our population has a similar rate of these symptoms to people who've been in recent wars," added Crane.  

Another study links exposure to the toxins with cancer.

"Our findings show that there is an increased cancer [risk] in the World Trade Center exposed New York City firefighters," said Dr. David Prezant of Einstein College of Medicine.  "We found an increase of 19 percent in the cancer likelihood."

The cancer study has lasted only seven years, a short time when cancers can take up to 20 years to develop. Dr. Prezant wants more of those exposed to the toxins from the twin towers to be screened for cancer.

"We can never take back that 9-11 exposure and so we need to have an aggressive screening program," he said.

The doctors also say they expect more of those who were at the World Trade Center site to become ill as time goes on. And, they suspect that the cancer rate will remain higher-than-average among this group over the next ten years.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs