First responders who rushed to the Twin Towers on 9/11, the construction and sanitation workers who picked through the buildings' rubble, and the civilians who evacuated those buildings are dealing with a variety of health effects 15 years later. And new data from the Department of Health shows specifically what they're suffering from: asthma, PTSD, and more cancer cases than people who weren't near Ground Zero.
Data from the World Trade Center Health Registry announced by the Department of Health this weekend showed that 9/11 first responders reported 11% more cancer cases than expected among the general population of New York State between 2007 and 2011. First responders had especially elevated risks for prostate and thyroid cancers. Civilians who were at Ground Zero reported 8% more cancer cases than the state's general population as well.
New cases of asthma among sanitation workers who transported Ground Zero debris to Fresh Kills Landfill, and those who worked on the debris at the landfill, were reported by 5.4% of sanitation workers between September 2001 and December 2004. Non-uniformed rescue/recovery workers who had any kind of 9/11-related health effects were more likely to be jobless or forced into early retirement. "Workers with three or more chronic health conditions and PTSD had a 10 times higher likelihood of experiencing job loss, five to ten years after 9/11," according to data from the health registry.
The data also shows that almost half (46.5%) of adults at Ground Zero that developed gastroesophageal reflux symptoms (GERS), or heartburn and acid reflux, after 9/11 still were suffering from the symptoms ten years later. The more likely a person was to have developed asthma or PTSD after 9/11, the more likely they were to develop and still have GERS ten years later. Twin Tower evacuees were also 30% more likely to suffer from PTSD and 50% more likely to binge drink than people who were in nearby buildings or streets on September 11th.
"Unfortunately, for the last fifteen years, all signs have told us that the health effects of 9/11 exposures are ongoing and grave. The research findings announced today continue to bear this out. The World Trade Center Health Registry and the research it has enabled has helped make sure that the medical experts can do their jobs and that Congress can continue to support our 9/11 victims and heroes," Congressman Jerry Nadler wrote in a statement delivered with the report.