In the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many first responders who worked at Ground Zero have suffered a number of health problems, including respiratory issues and cancer. Recently, evidence has suggested there is yet another health concern to add to the list: rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets joints, and both environmental factors and genetic predispositions can trigger it. It is a well-documented fact that first responders were exposed to dangerous toxins at the site of the World Trade Center, and many have developed autoimmune disorders as a result.
In addition to rheumatoid arthritis, which is a common diagnosis among first responders, other issues include lupus, sarcoidosis, myositis and systemic sclerosis. These issues can be difficult to treat and may cause chronic, long-lasting pain for individuals who experience them.
A clear link gets established
To make the connection between the workers of 9/11 and rheumatoid arthritis, researchers studied 16,000 people. They found that workers who were present at Ground Zero for at least two months were twice as likely to develop symptoms of the autoimmune disorder compared to those who did not work there. For every month recovery workers spent at the site, their chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis increased by about 13 percent.
Despite the fact that so much time has passed since the first responders were exposed to the toxic particles, they continue to suffer from serious health issues. As many as 2,500 have developed cancer, and first responders bear a 15 percent greater chance of contracting some type of cancer in their lifetime as compared to the average person.
There are still funds available to help compensate individuals who have suffered health issues due to their exposure at Ground Zero. To learn more about your legal options, contact the respected New York injury lawyers at Barasch, McGarry Salzman & Penson.