A new study conducted by the New York City Department of Health concludes that there is no clear relationship between cancer and the debris created from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The study, which was released yesterday and obtained by the Times, surveyed 55,700 people who were exposed to the debris in Lower Manhattan, on barges, and on a Staten Island landfill. After looking at 23 different cancers between 2003 and 2008, researchers noted that the cancer rate overall was not greater for those exposed compared to the general population.
In September the federal government, under the direction of Dr. John Howard, added 50 cancers to the list of ailments covered by the $4.3 billion Zadroga Act. But DOH Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley told the Times that it was premature to see the study as contradicting the federal government's determination: “Cancers take 20 years to develop, and we might see something different 20 years down the line. You don’t want to wait 20 to 30 years to get a definitive answer to which people may be suffering today.”
Three cancers—multiple myeloma, prostate, and thyroid—were seen in significantly higher numbers in rescue and recovery workers, but those ailments were seen as being too common to make the link. “I think, given the time frame and the exposures, that there wasn’t a high likelihood that there would be an elevated risk, certainly for cancer," oncologist Dr. Alfred Neugut said, echoing the initial skepticism voiced by other doctors as well as Mayor Bloomberg. “The 9/11 attack was a terrible thing, but it doesn’t cause everything in the world. Cancer is a very specific outcome, and in most exposures, you have to be exposed for an extended time before you get the cancer.”
We'll update with copy of the study as soon as we can.
[UPDATE] You can read the full study here.