We have talked extensively about the risk to workers and others exposed to environmental hazards at Ground Zero. A new study reflects the message of earlier research initiatives — exposure to carcinogenic materials during rescue and other operations significantly increases risk of disease, disability and premature death.
Published in the Journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the study followed almost 21,000 participants for seven years after the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Centers. Collaborative research through the Mount Sinai World Trade Center Health Program and local state tumor registry programs aimed to compare incidence of cancers among those exposed at Ground Zero to the general population.
The study found a total of 575 cancers were diagnosed in 522 survivors. Overall, the cancer rate among that group is currently 15 percent higher than the general population. Given the long latency period of certain cancers, the elevated rate of appearance of tumors within just seven years is disturbing.
Study author Dr. Jacqueline Moline noted [j]ust seven years after the attack, our study has shown an increase in cancer even at this early stage. Specifically, thyroid, prostate, soft tissue and blood cancer rates are higher than expected, with more frequent diagnosis in those exposed for longer periods of time to dust and debris piles.
While some cancers have been added to the list of ailments covered under the Zadroga Act, prostate cancer has not yet been included. In April, the Department of Health and Human Services added breast cancer to the list of World Trade Center (WTC) related health conditions.
Researchers highlighted the need for long-term monitoring and care for individuals injured in the aftermath of September 11. If you were exposed, speak with our firm for experienced legal help and support.