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World Trade Center Health Problems Continue

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A newly published study of the World Trade Center Health Registry has found that rescue workers and others exposed to the 9/11 terrorist attacks are still dealing with health problems. Unfortunately, the World Trade Center Health Registry provides only a small glimpse of the true health toll of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  According to the study authors, the 71,437 people enrolled  represent slightly more than 17 percent of those who are actually eligible for inclusion in the registry.

More than half of the rescue and recovery workers, lower Manhattan residents, area workers, commuters and passersby included in the registry reported being in the dust cloud from the collapsing World Trade Center towers; 70 percent witnessed a traumatic sight, such as a plane hitting a tower; and 13 percent suffered an injury on 9/11.

Two to three years after 9/11, 3 percent of all adults in the registry reported they’d developed new asthma.   The highest rate of asthma -6 percent -was reported among people who worked on the debris pile. Adult residents of Lower Manhattan  developed asthma at twice the normal rate for such a time frame in the two to three years after 9/11. The asthma rate was 3.7 percent among residents who didn’t evacuate on 9/11, 3.6 percent among residents who returned to their homes within two days, and 2 percent among those who didn’t return home until December 2001.

Approximately 3.5 percent of downtown workers who returned to their jobs within days of the disaster and 3.6 of passersby who were in Manhattan the morning of the attacks also developed asthma within 2-to-3 years following the tragedy.

The study also found that 16 percent of adult enrollees had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and 8 percent had severe psychological distress.  AT least 35 percent of those who sustained injuries the day of the attack suffered from PTSD.  Overall, minorities, people with low incomes, and women experienced higher rates of mental and physical problems.The study also found PTSD rates of 20 percent or higher for both residents and workers who couldn’t or wouldn’t return to lower Manhattan for months after 9/11 and for people who didn’t evacuate

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