• Lasting Effects
  • June 23, 2004
  • Law Firm: McGlinchey Stafford, PLLC - New Orleans Office
  • Airborne pollutants at the site after the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings on 9-11 have been linked to the severity of respiratory illnesses still suffered by rescue workers and other personnel operating on the scene. The National Institute of Health Sciences published a study on the health effects of exposure to WTC dust which shows an increase of new-onset cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and bronchial hyperreactivity more that two and one-half years after the disaster.

    Entitled "Health and Environmental Consequences of the World Trade Center Disaster," the study also found that pregnant women inside or within ten blocks of the Trade Center buildings at the time of their collapse delivered babies with low birth weights at twice the normal rate. NIEHS said that the role of stress in those low birth weights has been ruled out.

    Researchers found the dust consisted predominantly of coarse particles containing pulverized cement, glass fibers, asbestos, lead polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polychlorinated furans and dioxins. Air-borne particulates were at the highest levels immediately after the attack, according to Phillip J. Landrigan, director of environmental and occupational medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and principal author of the study. The study said that further research is needed to determine whether elevated asbestos levels present in the dust has resulted in an increase of lung cancer in those exposed to the airborne particles.

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) called on the EPA to clean area homes, workplaces and schools. "It is simply appalling that EPA's failure to clean up hazardous materials following a terrorist attack has led to the negative health impacts of those who risked their own lives to save the lives of others ... EPA must clean up immediately to stop others from being exposed to WTC dust, which can lead to mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other life threatening illnesses," he said.