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9/11 Injuries

WTC Research: Inhalation of Particulate Associated with Sleep Apnea

July 14, 2014 | Michael Barasch

New research from Mount Sinai Hospital links inhalation of particulate at Ground Zero with increased risk for sleep apnea years later.

In an earlier study of approximately 800 participants in the World Trade Center (WTC) CHEST program, researchers found a higher risk of pathology of the heart, lungs and kidneys. The toxic cloud generated at the WTC site contained heavy metals, glass and synthetic fibers, smoke and cement dust, along with a myriad of chemicals.

In the current study, participants with high or lengthy exposure to dust particulate are also found to be at higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea — and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings include:

  • High exposure to airborne particulate as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11 can lead to chronic upper respiratory inflammation. The study showed WTC responders have a significant risk of suffering sleep apnea as a result of work on the site.
  • The same study found a strong association between high exposure to inhaled particulate and development of PTSD.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous health condition. As inflamed tissue relaxes into the airway during sleep, regular breathing is halted. Breathing is interrupted until the drop of oxygenated blood signals the brain to stir the sleeper. These episodes continue throughout the night, robbing the sleeper of restful sleep.

Sleep apnea strains the cardiovascular system and contributes to a host of physiological concerns. Sufferers of apnea may have daytime drowsiness they never attribute to interrupted sleep. Fatigue leads to poor health and the possibility of serious automobile and other accidents.

If you are concerned about a compensation claim or when you have questions about 9/11-associated physical disorders, speak with one of Barasch & McGarry’s experienced New York City injury attorneys.

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