The emergency workers such as firefighters, police, soldiers and volunteers are among the 60,270 people who were at risk of inhaling poisonous dust and fumes ten years ago on September 11.
This week a study by the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) was published in the Lancey Medical Journal.
FDNY researcher Dr David Prezant said “This study clearly shows World Trade Center exposure in these firefighters led to an increase in cancer.”
It has been revealed that 18,462 people, in the last year, were treated for being exposed to cancer-causing compounds at Ground Zero. These carcinogens included 50,000 pulverized computers and mercury from countless light bulbs.
Doctors who have been studying the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks believe that the survivors could be facing a lifetime of health issue.
The 9/11 Federal Health Director, Dr John Howard has said that he accepts some people could have died from 9/11 related illnesses however he has not yet shifted from the position outlined in July. This July report concluded that there was not enough evidence to link cancer to the 9/11 attacks.
Speaking to BBC’s News Night he said, “I think undoubtedly there are people who have succumbed in the interval between now and September 11.
“I think it is plausible that many people will die of the many conditions we’ve seen due to their exposure.”
Sadly without this official link between cancer and the 9/11 attacks under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health Compensations Act the rescue workers cannot receive payments.
This law is named for James Zadroga, the first man to die from health problems related to the World Trade Attacks. At the age of 35, in January 2006, he died from a rare lung disease. The detective in the New York Police Department (NYPD) had spent 450 hours working at Ground Zero.
Dr. Laura Crowley, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School told New York Daily News some weeks ago that World Trade Center survivors are still coming in with symptoms.
She said “New patients are still coming in, people who say they went to the doctor and have been ignoring symptoms for a long time…It's important to figure out if it's related to World Trade Center exposure and will develop into something in the future."
The Irish American doctor said that those coming in are showing symptoms including a persistent cough, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, headaches, nosebleeds, acid reflux, gastrointestinal illnesses, sarcoidosis, interstitial lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sinusitis, sleep apnea and a loss of lung function or sense of smell. She said that although some people get better, others don’t.
The new study shows that those working on Ground Zero were exposed to cancer-causing agents such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins. Of those who have developed cancer the most common strains are skin, prostate, thyroid and non-Hodgkins’s lymphoma. Although the study did not find an increase in the risk of lung cancer this may be because this disease takes many years to develop.
“Reports of persistent health effects are a sobering reminder that the disaster has had far-reaching effects,” said Matthew Mauer, of the New York State department of health, speaking to the Daily Mail. “One cannot help but wonder what will be reported when we mark the 20th anniversary of this tragedy.”