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Barasch & McGarry Recognizes National Heart Health Week

February 12, 2021 | Michael Barasch

We have known for years that anyone exposed to Ground Zero toxins after 9/11 has a much higher risk of developing 68 different types of cancer and numerous respiratory diseases.

But a 2019 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Associationfound another significant risk for approximately 500,000 9/11 first responders and survivors: heart disease.

The report examined the medical histories of 9,796 firefighters 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 National Heart Health Week, we urge members of the 9/11 community to protect themselves by regularly visiting a primary care provider and reporting any problems that could indicate heart disease.

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

However, new illnesses have been added to that list in the past, and an increasing amount of data from the Health Program helps strengthen the correlation between toxic exposure and a host of illnesses—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 might you be having a 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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