More than 18 years after September 11, 2001, the number of victims and the range of afflictions linked to the World Trade Center attacks grow. Asbestos, chemicals from building materials, smoke and other potentially dangerous substances were ejected from Ground Zero for months following the fall of the Twin Towers. As a result, people who lived, worked or went to school in the area face the possibility of serious 9/11-related illnesses, including kidney, cardiovascular and prostate problems.
Dr. Michael Crane, director of the WTC Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital spoke with Renal and Urology News to address the incidence of serious illnesses affecting the organs of individuals who were in the 9/11 exposure zone during that period. He and other medical experts are still tabulating the damage and assessing new threats related to toxins in Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the attacks, such as:
- Possible connection between respiratory exposure and prostate cancer — Dust that permeated the neighborhood around Ground Zero might increase the likelihood of prostate cancer. Bladder and kidney cancers are also among the 10 types cancer diagnosed most frequently among first responders who were near the World Trade Center during and after 9/11.
- Reported incidence of cancer in younger patients — The destruction of the Twin Towers triggered the release of a combination of airborne substances never before encountered. Accordingly, doctors and researchers have taken great care to keep track of how potentially exposed individuals have been affected. Dr. Crane said some medical providers have reported that World Trade Center responders seem to have more aggressive cancers at a younger age than the general population. This finding may rest in part on the fact that those with Ground Zero exposure might be monitored for cancer earlier and more thoroughly.
- Cardiovascular disease noted in firefighters — Dr. Crane cited a study that found a significantly higher incidence of cardiovascular disease among firefighters who reported to the World Trade Center site during the morning or afternoon of 9/11, as opposed to those who arrived sometime later. Those who worked on the cleanup for at least six months were more likely to suffer heart attacks, strokes, unstable angina and other cardiovascular conditions.
Due to the slow development of some diseases, the lack of any comparable event and other factors, much work remains to be done to complete the evaluation of the medical risk associated with post-9/11 exposure.
Barasch & McGarry advises clients who have been diagnosed with 9/11 illnesses as well as those who spent time in Lower Manhattan after the attacks and believe they might be at risk. For a free consultation regarding your legal options, please call 888-351-9421 or contact us online.