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9/11 Survivors At Risk Of Long-Term Health Problems

The study analysed 8,701 survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Centre to find out the association between dust exposure and long term risks of heart attack and lung problems

9/11 Survivors At Risk Of Long-Term Health Problems

The 9/11 survivors are likely to develop heart attack and lung problems


  1. 8,701 WTC survivors were enrolled for the study
  2. 92 incidents of heart attacks were reported in the study
  3. The type of injuries and fractures is linked to heart problems

Revisiting the health risks associated with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, researchers have found that the people who survived through the unfortunate day are probably at an increased long-term risk of developing asthma and heart attack. While post-traumatic stress disorders are inevitable in such cases, this new study has brought the long-term health risks of the dreaded attack on fore. The findings has jolted the academic and social realms around the country as there are more than 5,000 survivors who are still coping with the aftermath of the unforgettable attack.

The Study

The researchers enrolled a total of 8,701 people from the WTC Health registry to examine the association between physical injury or acute exposure to the dust cloud on the morning of September 11, 2001, and chronic disease up to 10 to 11 years later. The WTC registry monitors the physical and mental health of 71,000 survivors of the 9/11 attack.

They found that there were 92 incident cases of heart disease, 308 cases of asthma, and 297 cases of non-neoplastic lung disease among 7,503 area workers, 249 rescue workers, 131 residents and 818 passerby.

"Our findings indicate that intense exposure on a single day-the first day of the disaster- contributes substantially to the risk of developing chronic conditions," said Robert Brackbill from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Health Risks Unravelled

The close analysis of the subjects showed that individuals exposed to dust had a higher risk of non-neoplastic lung disease ( lung conditions not involving tumours) other than asthma and dust exposure on its own was associated with an increased risk of asthma.

Also Read Health Information on Asthma

The injuries, such as fractures, head injuries, or sprains, sustained by the survivors was associated with an increased risk of angina or heart attack in a dose-dependent manner. This meant that the risk of acquiring heart problems increased with every additional injury type. These findings were published in the journal of Injury Epidemiology.

Also Read Will I Ever Get A Heart Attack? Know Your Risks And 6 Tips To Help

"Continued monitoring of people who were present in the vicinity of the World Trade Centre on 9/11 by medical providers is warranted for the foreseeable future," Brackbill said in a journal news release.


(With inputs from IANS)

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