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Barasch & McGarry Recognizes American Heart Month

February 24, 2022 | Michael Barasch

February is American Heart Month.

Anyone who was exposed to Ground Zero toxins on or after 9/11 has a higher risk of developing 68 different types of cancer and many respiratory illnesses, which have been linked to the 9/11 toxins by the World Trade Center Health Program.

A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found another significant risk for the approximately 500,000 9/11 first responders and survivors who were there: heart disease.

The report examined the medical histories of 9,796 firefighters who worked at the World Trade Center site and found a 44% increase in heart attacks, strokes, heart surgeries, and deaths from heart disease – even when controlling for body mass index, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and other risk factors.

In honor of American Heart Month, we urge members of the 9/11 community to protect themselves by regularly visiting a primary health care provider and reporting any problems that could indicate heart disease. 

Despite evidence linking Ground Zero exposure and heart problems, the World Trade CenterHealth Program (WTCHP) and 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) have not yet added cardiovascular diseases to the list of conditions eligible for free health care and compensation from the VCF.

But new illnesses continue to be added as the WTCHP receives more data from its members, and an increasing amount of data from the WTCHP helps strengthen the correlation between toxic exposure and a host of chronic health conditions —such as heart disease. 

In the meantime, be proactive: exercise regularly, limit consumption of sodium and saturated fats, reduce stress, and take medications as prescribed by your doctor.

We have included resources below for accessing medical care if you are at risk of heart attack or stroke. 

If you are diagnosed with heart disease or any of the cancers or respiratory diseases impacting the 9/11 community, please contact us. 

Visit or call 212-385-8000 today.

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack: 

Warning Signs of a Stroke:

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