By Lisa Rapaport
(Reuters Health) – Survivors of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001 – and first-responders who were on the scene that day – may have an increased risk for heart and lung diseases, a new study suggests.
The World Trade Center attack exposed thousands of people to intense concentrations of hazardous materials that have resulted in reports of increased levels of asthma, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic physical and psychological disorders, researchers note in the journal Injury Epidemiology.
For the current study, researchers examined data on 8,701 people who were at the World Trade Center site on the day of the attacks and didn’t have asthma, diabetes or heart and lung diseases.
After up to 11 years of follow-up, people injured that day were at least twice as likely to develop heart disease as people who didn’t sustain injuries, the study found. Dust and debris exposure was associated with 30 percent higher odds of developing asthma and lung diseases, the study also found.
“This study is unique in that it focuses on responders and survivors who had intense exposure to environmental pollution and trauma on 9/11/2001 in New York City, but not afterwards,” said senior study author Dr. Robert Brackbill of the World Trade Center Health Registry and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
“The main implication of these findings is that intense exposure on the first day of the disaster can by itself increase the risk of developing chronic conditions,” Brackbill said by email.
Researchers examined data on 8,701 people in the WTC Health Registry, which monitors the physical and mental health of 71,431 individuals exposed to the attacks. The current study included people with the most exposure to injuries and contaminated air that day: 7,503 area workers, 249 rescue workers, 131 residents and 818…