As if World Trade Center survivors and emergency responders didn’t have enough to deal with, a new study from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center have shown evidence of long-lasting lung damage in those exposed to dust at ground zero.
Why wasn’t this known earlier? Why are workers and their families only finding out nearly ten years later? The senior author of the study reminds us that the conditions at the WTC site were very unique, and there was no way, he claims, for anyone to know what the long term effects would be on rescue workers and victims.
FDNY rescue workers examined after being exposed to the toxic 9/11 dust and debris showed a dramatic decline in lung function. Over the next six and a half years researchers found that workers’ lung function had either failed to improve or improved negligibly.
This study isn’t the first to show diminished lung function in rescue workers exposed to dust at the WTC site. In 2006 a report revealed that FDNY rescue workers had a loss in lung function more than twelve times the decline in a normal person (as a result of normal aging).
These studies mean that rescue workers and those who risked their lives to save men and women during the attacks of 9/11 may suffer with respiratory problems for the rest of their lives. It is a shame they’ve had to fight so hard for fair compensation.