Respiratory, Gastrointestinal, and Psychiatric Health Issues Plague 9/11 Responders

Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, responders continue to deal with health problems from the toxins that rose up from the destruction.

The attacks on September 11, 2001 still linger in the minds and hearts of those who witnessed it; most people remember where they were when the attacks began that day. While the memories of that day still weigh heavily on the hearts of Americans, it is the responders of this tragedy who also must deal with health problems from the toxins that rose up from the destruction.

Dr. Iris G. Udasin, professor of environmental and occupational medicine and director of the Clinical Center of Excellence for World Trade Center responders at EOHSI, recently stated that “about 50,000 responders and probably an additional 100,000 or so people who lived in the ground zero area are sick.” Respiratory issues such as, laryngitis, asthma, and sinusitis are the most common conditions that these people are dealing with. Many people have also contracted gastrointestinal problems such as GERD while others have developed sleep apnea.

Eleven clinical centers in New York City, Long Island, and Piscataway have been established to treat 9/11 responders and people are still coming. According to Udasin, About 1,700 people have gone to the clinical center in Piscataway over the years, and many of them are still coming.

She also added, “We can’t make an association between cancer and World Trade at this point,” but many experts claim the level of multiple myeloma has increase among responders. When researching for cases of multiple myeloma among 28,252 responders, the study found that eight people had the disease with four of the cases were men less than 45-years old, an curiously high number for that age group.

Also, a recent study of 8,927 New York City firefighters showed “a modest excess of cancer cases.” While the latest federal review has not garnered enough evidence to add cancer to the list of World Trade Center-related health conditions, the review stated that cancer still could not be ruled out.

Even children are feeling the medical effects of the September 11th attacks after inhaling toxic substances ten years ago. Over 25,000 children that came in contact with the poisonous gases are still getting sick from them with doctors like Elizabeth Fiorino, a pediatric pulmonologist, seeing “acid reflux disease and a variety of behavioral, learning, and mental health issues” in those same kids today. Fiorino joined the World Trade Center Environmental Health Center in 2009 to help treat children still experiencing health problems from that day.The study of the 25,000 children in the area of the Twin Tower collapse also went on to state that tens of thousand more “were in the path of the plume of building debris and smoke, close enough to inhale particulates and toxic substances.”

Illnesses of 9/11 Responders

The Mount Sinai World Trade Center Clinical Center of Excellence and Data Center in New York City evaluated more than 27,000 police officers, firefighters, municipal workers, and construction workers over a nine-year period following September 11, 2001. They found that 28 percent of patients had asthma, 42 percent had sinusitis and 39 percent had GERD. 42 percent had abnormal lung function tests and other signs of lung injury. Nearly 10 percent of rescue and recovery workers had asthma, sinusitis, and GERD at the same time. Of these workers, 48 percent with asthma, 38 percent with sinusitis, and 43 percent with GERD were also burdened with at least one mental health condition.

Around the Web

Thousands of 9/11 responders are ill[USA Today]

First Long-Term Study of World Trade Center Rescue and Recovery Workers Shows Widespread Health Problems Ten Years After 9-11[Proceedings from Mount Sinai School of Medicine]

In Manhattan, Children Still Battle 9/11-Related Illnesses[The Atlantic]