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Increased Multiple Myeloma Risk May Face 9/11 Rescue Workers

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World Trade Center emergency responders may face yet another health threat -  an increased risk of  developing a type of cancer called multiple myeloma.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, eight of  28,252 emergency responders developed the cancer between the attacks in 2001 through 2007.  According to the Associated Press, half of those with multiple myeloma were under the age of 45.   That’s surprising, because the cancer usually hits an older age group, with the  median age of diagnosis in the general public at 71. Based on this, only one person in the under-45 group would be expected to develop multiple myeloma.

The study authors were quick to point out that their research did not find a direct link between exposure to Ground Zero and the cancer, but said people who worked at the site should continue to have their health monitored.

In the hours and days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, thousands of rescue workers descended on Ground Zero to help with recovery efforts. Sifting through dust and rubble, sometimes with their bare hands, many lacked the clothing and equipment that could have kept them safe from harm. Several studies have confirmed that Ground Zero first responders continue to suffer from ill health as a result of their exposure to toxic dust at the site, including lung diseases and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also known that the  chemicals they were exposed to  included several carcinogens, some of which have been linked to a heightened risk of multiple myeloma.

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