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9-11 WTC Rescue Workers Developing Asthma

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The rescue workers at the World Trade Center have higher rates of asthma than the people who were not involved in the rescue operations. A review of the World Trade Center Health Registry by the New York City Health Department found that 3.6 percent of World Trade Center first responders have developed asthma since 9-11 which is 12 times higher than the rate of asthma in the normal adult population.

About 71,000 rescue workers are enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry. The Health Department surveyed the health records of 25,000 people on the Registry between 2003 and 2004. The study found that asthma rates were highest among rescue workers who arrived at Ground Zero the soonest and stayed the longest. Seven percent of first responders who arrived at the site on September 11 and worked more than 90 days have developed asthma since 2001. Fire fighters, police officers, EMS workers and volunteers all had about the same asthma rates which indicates their other activities had little or no effect on their newly-developed asthma. The cause of the increased asthma rate is thought to be the toxic dust and fumes from the buildings’ collapse.

In addition, asbestos and other carcinogens were also in the air near ground zero, so there may be more serious issues to come.