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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid