Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lasting Lung Damage For 9/11 Responders

A study of nearly 13,000 rescue workers from the New York Fire Department shows that the significant proportion who suffered acute lung damage after exposure to World Trade Center dust have not recovered normal lung function in the years since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The seven-year study, with almost 62,000 individual measurements, is the largest longitudinal study ever reported of occupational influences on lung function. It is the only group of WTC workers for which pre-9/11 lung function measurements were available. The study, led by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, in collaboration with FDNY, appears in today's print edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.

“This exposure at Ground Zero was so unique that no one could have predicted the impact on lung function. We demonstrated dramatic decline in lung function, mostly in the first six months after 9/11 and these declines persisted with little or no meaningful recovery of lung function among FDNY rescue workers (firefighters and emergency medical service workers) over the next six-and-a-half years,” said Dr. David Prezant,professor of medicine at Einstein and senior author of the study.

For Prezant and his team, the critical mission remains identifying the individuals most affected and providing them with treatment to improve their quality of life and prevent further declines in lung function.

The current research follows up on a previous 2006 study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, that assessed lung function one year after the 9/11 attacks. In that study, Dr. Prezant and colleagues found that 9/11 FDNY rescue workers suffered substantial loss in lung function in the year following the attacks — more than 12 times the decline in lung function that would be expected to occur with normal aging. The largest decline was observed among workers who arrived at the WTC site the morning of 9/11, when the dust cloud was most intense.

2 comments:

JacInIreland said...

I doubt a single one of those first responders would have acted differently if they had of known what the future held for them. Hindsight is all very well, and usually 20/20 to the shoulda, woulda, coulda senario, but it
doesn't change the fact that immediate assistance was needed in an unprecedented situation.
However, when EPA administrator AND NJ Governor, Christine Whitman, gives totally unfounded assurance that the water and air are safe and less precautions are used to protect these men, then questions need to be answered.
Eight and a half years, 9'000 plaintiffs, hundreds already dead, and this STILL hasn't been addressed adequately.
Obama desperately NEEDS to sign this bill that has been floating around congress for four years, to at the very least show gratitude, not to mention due care to the men and women who will eventually pay the ultimate price for their
bravery on that day.

Hinda said...

As an employee of the Veterans Affairs, I know that this is being researched (based on the daily bulletins we receive). It was suggested in 2002 that this would be a problem in many years - due to the falling asbestos that part of the towers were built with. When asbestos is in a powder form it is toxic - when it is in a solid form it is not a health hazard. The people who attempted to help will always be a true hero to me and should be supported for the rest of their lives.