3.6% of the 25,000 rescue and recovery workers enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry, US report developing asthma after working at the site.
Findings released by the US Health Department shed new light on the health effects of exposure to dust and debris among workers who responded to the World Trade Center disaster on September_11, 2001.
The report says that rate is 12 times what would be normally expected for the adult population during such a time period. The paper was published today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
The survey, conducted in 2003 and 2004, found that arriving soon after the buildings collapsed, or working on the WTC pile over a long period, increased the workers? risk of developing asthma. Workers who arrived on September 11, 2001, and worked more than 90 days reported the highest rate of new asthma (7%).
?The dust from the World Trade Center collapse appears to have had significant respiratory health effects at least for people who worked at the site,? said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner. ?These findings reflect the critical importance of getting appropriate respiratory protection to all workers as quickly as possible during a disaster, and making every effort to make sure workers wear them at all times. The events of 9/11 were unprecedented, and with the urgency of rescue operations and the difficulty of prolonged physical exertion with most types of respirators, there are no easy answers, even in retrospect.?
Rescue and recovery workers were a diverse group that included firefighters, police officers, construction workers and volunteers, among others.
Asthma can be controlled with the right care and medications.