Posts Tagged ‘World Trade Center’

9/11 first responders, workers continue to fall ill as 12th anniversary of tragedy is marked

11 Sep 2013 by under Events, Legal, News, People

firefighters at WTC site 100x100 9/11 first responders, workers continue to fall ill as 12th anniversary of tragedy is markedToday Americans pause to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, when terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in , and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., along with a failed attempt that downed a jetliner in a field in Pennsylvania, changed our nation forever. But as we stop to think of those who lost their lives on that day, the lingering effects of toxic debris at Ground Zero in New York continue to plague first responders and workers who cleared the debris. Many others also were exposed to toxins at the Pentagon and the plane crash site. (more…)

Memorial service today for Dr. Stephen Levin, advocate for 9/11 worker health

21 Feb 2012 by under Events, News, People, Research/Treatment

stephen m levin md 100x100 Memorial service today for Dr. Stephen Levin, advocate for 9/11 worker healthA memorial service is set for today, Feb. 21, 2012, for Dr. Stephen Levin, who was instrumental in addressing the needs of first responders and other workers whose health was negatively affected during the events of 9/11. Dr. Levin passed away Feb. 7 at age 70 at his home in Uppper Grandview, . The memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. ET at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Stern Auditorium, 1468 Madison Avenue at East 100th Street, , NY. (more…)

Listen to an interview with lead author of NYFD cancer study

11 Sep 2011 by under News, Research/Treatment

fdny logo Listen to an interview with lead author of NYFD cancer studyEarlier this month, in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, The Lancet published a study of cancer risk in New York City firefighters who were first responders to at the World Trade Center (WTC). The study, conducted seven years after the attacks, was both the “first firefighter study on the effects of 9/11 and cancer, but it is also the largest firefighter cancer study ever done,” according to Dr. David J. Prezant, Chief Medical Officer at the NYFD and the lead author of the study. (more…)

People exposed to toxins at WTC site during 9/11 call for cancer coverage

10 Sep 2011 by under Legal, News

firefighters at WTC site 100x100 People exposed to toxins at WTC site during 9/11 call for cancer coverageIn the wake of several new studies that indicate an increased risk of cancer among firefighters and others exposed to toxins at the World Trade Center site during 9/11, there is an outcry to include cancer among the conditions eligible for coverage by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. (more…)

Study reveals persistent, significant reduction in lung function for 9/11 responders, workers

8 Apr 2010 by under Events, Legal, News, Research/Treatment

firefighters at WTC site 100x100 Study reveals persistent, significant reduction in lung function for 9/11 responders, workersA study published today in The New England Journal of Medicine reveals that (FDNY) firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) workers who responded to the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center have suffered significant, persistent declines in lung functions. According to the report, exposure to World Trade Center dust created when the towers collapsed led to “large declines” in lung functions for FDNY rescue workers during the first year, and that “the declines were persistent, without recovery over the next 6 years, leaving a substantial proportion of workers with abnormal lung function.”

The study included 12,781 workers who were present at the WTC site between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 24, 2001, which is 91.6 percent of the workers that were present. The report notes that the event exposed the workers – as well as those living and working in the surrounding area – to a dense cloud of pulverized building materials and chemical byproducts, including pulverized glass and cement, insulation fibers including , and toxic chemicals.

According to a report in The New York Times that summarizes the study findings, this is the first study to document long-term harm in a large group of firefighters and emergency medical workers who worked at Ground Zero. All of the subjects of the study had had previous lung function tests, providing a baseline for the study.

The study was authored by Dr. David J. Prezant, chief medical officer in the Office of Medical Affairs at the New York City Fire Department. The study was approved by the institutional review board at Montefiore Medical Center.

Results of the study revealed that firefighters, who had heavier exposure to dust by the nature of their work had greater first-year declines than EMS personnel, especially for firefighters who were present in the morning on 9/11, when the dust cloud was most intense after the buildings fell. However, researchers noted they were surprised to see “little or no recovery of average lung function during the 6-year follow-up period.” In fact, they noted continued decline in lung function among the study groups.

Normally, the study notes, “smoke inhalation during firefighting causes relatively mild and reversible respiratory impairment.” Additionally, according to the report, long-term effects of firefighting on pulmonary function also are normally mild.

The average loss of lung function for 9/11 rescue workers is about 10 percent. Most of the loss occurred within the first year after 9/11 exposure, with little or no subsequent recovery.

Thousands of workers injured at Ground Zero have been fighting for compensation from the City of New York. Last month about 10,000 plaintiffs reached a settlement agreement totaling $657.5 million, but a judge rejected the settlement shortly afterward, saying it did not provide enough compensation for the plaintiffs. The matter is now back in negotiations, and a new hearing is set for Monday, according to the Times.

9/11 rescue, cleanup workers reach health care settlement with City

12 Mar 2010 by under Events, Legal, News

workers at WTC 100x100 9/11 rescue, cleanup workers reach health care settlement with CityA story published by the New York Times reports thousands of rescue and cleanup workers who were exposed to the toxic air at Ground Zero after the 9/11 tragedy at the World Trade Center have reached a settlement agreement with the city over damage to their health. According to the Times, the city has agreed to pay out up to $657.5 million to about 10,000 plaintiffs in the case.

The settlement agreement has been in the works for about two years, taking place among a great deal of confusion and disagreement about the city’s responsibility for injured workers. The city had claimed it was immune because injuries occurred during a national emergency or civil defense situation. However, injured workers and their families argued they were employed by the city and entitled to compensation as they would be for any injury incurred on the job.

According to the Times report, 95 percent of the plaintiffs in this case must accept the terms of the settlement for it to take effect. Each plaintiff’s case will then be examined individually to determine how much compensation that person will receive, which lawyers estimate could run anywhere from a few thousand dollars to as much as $1 million. Individual compensation will depend on the severity of illness and level of exposure to contaminants at the World Trade Center site.

A variety of health screening and tracking programs were established in the days and months following the September 11 tragedy. Workers and others who simply lived and worked near the disaster site began complaining of a variety of illnesses, especially respiratory problems. There is an official World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, as well as studies conducted by the New York Fire Department and other organizations.

Some health problems presented immediately following exposure to the site, such as respiratory distress, while others are only just showing up in those who worked at the site. It is now known that the Ground Zero site was contaminated with at levels at least two times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s “safe” level. Because of the long latency period between exposure to and the development of mesothelioma – an average of between 10 and 50 years – the true effect of exposure may not be known for years to come.

Some of the plaintiffs involved in the current settlement are not yet ill, but fear they will develop illnesses in the future as a result of their exposure to the toxins like asbestos. According to the Times, the settlement provides a $23.4 million insurance policy to cover possible future claims.

Creepy ad touts benefits of asbestos, features photo of WTC

29 Apr 2009 by under Events, News

wtc asbestos ad 224x300 Creepy ad touts benefits of asbestos, features photo of WTCA friend recently forwarded me a link to a web site that features an ad touting the wonders of for fire protection, highlighted by a photo of the World Trade Center’s twin towers. The ad was produced in 1981, so it’s not a matter of bad taste, just creepy in light of the September 11 disaster, and ironic because the presence of in the towers has been a source of health problems for the disaster’s first responders, among the many dangerous toxins released when the buildings collapsed.

The ad references fire alarms, most likely referring to a Feb. 13, 1975 fire that broke out on the 11th floor of the North Tower. But it hits a little too close to home after the events that would take place a little over 25 years later.

On the anniversary of the 2001 tragedy last year, we discussed the ongoing studies being conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygeine on the effects of exposure to the dust released in the catastrophe. The study included close to 5,000 samples of airborne asbestos collected by the EPA in lower Manhattan between Sept. 11, 2001 and Jan. 22, 2002, many of which exceeded “safety” standards.

It is ironic that the ad for asbestos prominently features the tag line “when life depends on it, you use asbestos.”

In 1981, the asbestos industry was already under scrutiny for the link between asbestos and mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, and sometimes the stomach and/or heart. Most recent studies by the National Cancer Institute show that people with even brief exposure to asbestos are at risk. There is no “safe” level of asbestos exposure.

We recently have added a petition to this site urging the U.S. Congress to finally support a total ban of asbestos in the United States, and to provide funding for mesothelioma research. Please sign the petition, and add your voice to this fight.

The New York State Department of Health has been collecting information about deaths among World Trade Center responders, recovery workers and volunteers since shortly after the tragedy.

As of June 2008, the program had identified 382 people who worked at the WTC site who had passed away, and confirmed 204 causes of death, including 30 deaths resulting from respiratory and intrathoracic organ disease. In an updated report released in December 2008, the number of deaths of people who worked at the WTC had jumped to 713 people, with 548 confirmed causes of death. The number of deaths attributed to respiratory and intrathoracic organ disease is noted at 56, accounting for 14.1 percent of the deaths.

Of course, these numbers are general, and not specifically linked to asbestos inhalation, but the report does note that 30.2 percent of the confirmed causes of death of people who worked at the WTC are releated to “exposure to harmful substances or environments,” and 27.3 percent specifically related to “ingestion of substance.”

WTC repsonders suffer from toxic poisons

12 Sep 2008 by under News

Yesterday I shared some information about the health effects on those who were exposed to the toxic dust and fumes from the World Trade Center collapse on , 2001. Last night, the Sundance Channel aired a documentary, Dust to Dust: The Health Effects of 9/11, by Heidi Dehncke-Fisher, that explores the health effects particularly on the first responders – firefighters, police officers, emergency medical personnel – and their fight to make the public aware of the danger they were exposed to at the site.

Experts say there will be long-term health effects as a result of the exposure to toxic chemicals, including mesothelioma and other serious respiratory diseases, , asthma, kidney disease, heart disease and more.

The documentary says more than 2,500 different contaminants were released in the collapse, including more than 400 tons of asbestos, 90 thousand liters of jet fuel (cancer causing Benzine); lead, cadmium and mercury, which can severely impact the kidneys, PCBs, PAHs and crystalline silica.

Watch the documentary.

Mesothelioma lingering concern at Ground Zero

11 Sep 2008 by under News, Research/Treatment

twin towers collapse Mesothelioma lingering concern at Ground ZeroAs the nation reflects on the tragic attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, there is lingering and growing concern about the dangers of asbestos exposure at the World Trade Center “Ground Zero.” First responders and people who live nearby were exposed to tons of asbestos when the twin towers collapsed, along with smoke, chemicals and other debris.

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygeine, the EPA collected and analyzed close to 5,000 samples for airborne asbestos in lower Manhattan between Sept. 11, 2001 and Jan. 22, 2002. Thirty-one of the samples collected prior to Sept. 30, 2001 indicated asbestos in excess of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) standard, as did four other samples collected on four other dates during the testing period.

At the time, the health department assured the public that they did not expect brief exposures to low levels of airborne asbestos to create long-term health effects.

However, the National Cancer Institute states that people with only brief exposure to asbestos are at risk for the development of asbestos diseases including asbestosis and mesothelioma. They cite a study titled Environmental Health Perspectives, published in 2006, that examined results of a five-year assessment of the health of workers. Results of the program, called the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program, noted that nearly 70 percent of World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers suffered new or worsened respiratory systems while performing work at the WTC site.

In 2002, the Center for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Health Department established the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry, hoping to monitor the health of those exposed to the WTC disaster. The program plans to follow up with enrollees for the next 20 years, and will examine both physical and mental health.

The Registry includes 71,437 participants, including rescue and recovery workers, Lower Manhattan residents, area workers, commuters and passerby. The voluntary program was open to anyone who lived, worked or went to school in the area of the WTC disaster, or were involved in rescue and recovery efforts. It is the largest public health registry in U.S. history, but registered particpants still only comprise about 17.4 percent of the people who would have been eligible to participate, program officials estimate.

According to the report, released yesterday, half the registrants reported being in the dust cloud from the collapsing towers; 70 percent witnessed a traumatic sight; and 13 percent sustained an injury that day. The reports says 3 percent of all adults in the program reported they have developed new asthma, 16 percent had post-traumatic stress disorder, and 8 percent have severe psychological distress.

The report finds that first responders – rescue and recovery workers who worked on the debris pile – have the highest rate of new asthma, at 6 percent.

Additionally, examining the health of participants two to three years after the event revealed 3 percent of Lower Manhattan adult residents and workers had developed asthma – twice what is believed to be the baseline rate of development of asthma over that period.

The Health Department has issued a follow-up survey that examined program participants’ health issues five to six years after the 9/11 attack, and expect to release those findings in the next few months.

Additionally, since the attacks of Sept. 11, the New York State Department of Health has been collecting information about the deaths among World Trade Center responders, recovery workers and volunteers – no matter how or why the death occurred – through its World Trade Center (WTC) Responder Fatality Investigation. It is hoped the data will help track and identify all fatalities and allow the department to analyze the root causes.

As of June 2008, the program has identified 382 people who worked a the WTC site and have since passed away, and has confirmed 204 causes of death. The report states that 30 of those people have died of respiratory and intrathoracic organ disease, making up 19.4 percent of the overall confirmed deaths. Twenty-six of the deaths, or 16.8 percent, were specifically related to lung disease.

CDC grant for possible Ground Zero illnesses

31 Jul 2008 by under News, Research/Treatment

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced a new program to provide $30 million in grant money for health screenings, assessments, monitoring and tracking, and improved access to health care services and treatments for those who may have been impacted by the World Trade Center collapse on Sept. 11. The grant will be available not only to first responders and other workers, but also to hundreds of thousands of Manhattan residents who live or lived near the Twin Towers.

The buildings’ collapse released thousands of pounds of hazardous material into the atmosphere, which may have included a combination of glass, asbestos, fiberglass, pulverized concrete, lead, mercury, cadmium, dioxins and PCBs. Construction of the World Trade Center buildings was begun before the use of asbestos was banned in the U.S., and some estimates say as much as 400 tons of asbestos fiber was in the buildings.

People near Ground Zero could experience a number of medical problems as a result of their exposure to this toxic dust, including respiratory problems and asbestos disease including mesothelioma.

In an official release from the CDC, Christine Branche, acting director of the CDC’s (NIOSH), said, “These public health dollars extend the reach of our efforts so that they help support the provision of the health care services to residents, students, an others who were in the vicinity of the attacks of September 11, 2001.”

The release says the NIOSH-administered grants provide up to $10 million per year for three years, and the money can be used to help cover gaps when individuals’ public or private insurance is insufficient to fully cover the costs associated with care or treatment.

Funding will be provided to one to three organizations, with the deadline for proposal submission set for Aug. 25, 2008. For more information about how to apply for one of these grants, visit The CDC encourages health and medical care facilities to apply.

The CDC says it already has invested at least $925 million in programs to support responders to the 9/11 emergency.