The Health Effects of 9/11

New study finds firefighters who worked at Ground Zero are more likely to have cancer

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In the ten years after the attacks on the World Trade Centers, we've seen the physical effects on lower Manhattan and the policy effects both domestic and foreign. Now we're starting to see the more subtle reverberations, for example in public health. Firefighters who worked at Ground Zero are 19% more likely to have cancer than firefighters who didn't, study released today finds, reports The Wall Street Journal. This study presents the first substantive findings that show working at Ground Zero increased cancer risks, yet this isn't the first study that has measured the health impacts of that day.

  • Stress response to the attacks has been associated with a 53 percent increased incidence of cardiovascular issues, a study three years after 9/11 found
  • Caring for those emotionally affected by the terrorist attacks led to compassion fatigue according to research out of the International Journal of Emergent Mental Health
  • Following the event, a study concluded an upward trend in post-traumatic stress disorder, even for those who did not directly experience the event, another found
  • Those who were exposed to World Trade Center aftermath report constant headaches
  • About 8.4% of office workers and 8.6% of passersby developed asthma 5 to 6 years after the attacks. 

Understanding the health effects not only inform those affected by the attacks, but could also help future policy explains WSJ. "Advocates for Ground Zero responders and New York lawmakers will try to use the study to try to convince officials overseeing a new Sept. 11 health program to pay compensation to people who developed cancer after exposure to the site. "

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.