9/11 Survivors Continue Battling Long-Term Health Effects

NY Post - September 11, 2016

by Danika Fears

They survived the deadliest day in New York City history — but they’re still feeling the devastating toll it took on their health 15 years later.

The city Health Department released on Friday new findings from the World Trade Center Health Registry that illustrate the long-term physical and mental effects that 9/11 survivors and recovery workers are suffering.

A follow-up study of people on the health registry, which includes 71,000 names, found that 9/11 rescue works had 11 percent more cancer cases than the general New York state population between 2007 and 2011.

Survivors also had 8 percent more cancer cases than expected over the same period.

“The findings also provide limited evidence for a causal link between 9/11 exposure and cancer,” the Health Department said.

Rescue workers had more cases of prostate and thyroid cancer, while survivors suffered more from breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the study found.

Another study shows that workers who have suffered chronic health problems as a result of 9/11 are more likely to retire early or lose their jobs

The problem is even more profound among those with PTSD.

“For example, workers with three or more chronic health conditions and PTSD had a 10 times higher likelihood of experiencing job loss, five to ten years after 9/11,” the Health Department said.

Another study comparing World Trade Center evacuees, people in surrounding buildings, and survivors on the street found that workers who had to flee from inside the towers were 30 percent more likely to have PTSD and 50 percent more likely to be binge drinkers 10 years later.

“Infrastructure challenges and behavioral challenges experienced during evacuation were significantly associated with having PTSD,” the Health Department said.

“Infrastructure challenges included access to stairways and exits. Behavioral challenges included perception of danger, panic, and anxiety.”

Workers at Fresh Kills Landfill, where about 1 million tons of World Trade Center debris was taken after the attack, also had a greater risk of new-onset asthma, with 5.4 percent of people on the health registry reporting they’d been diagnosed with it between Sept. 2001 and Dec. 2004, another study found.

“These workers carried out their essential jobs in a most professional manner under extremely adverse conditions and it is no surprise that some are now experiencing medical or psychological issues,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.