February 25, 2008
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center
More than six years later, tragic realities resulting from the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks continue to reveal themselves. With many individuals developing similar health conditions, criticism has yet again resurfaced regarding the government’s assurance that the dust created from the fallen World Trade Center (WTC) towers was safe and posed no threat to human health. The first documented death caused by exposure to WTC dust was confirmed in May 2007 with New York City’s chief medical examiner directly linking the death of Felicia Dunn-Jones (a lawyer who fled her office a block away from the WTC) with her exposure to the toxic dust.
The dust cloud contained more than 2,500 contaminants and infiltrated the city. Stretching as far as New Jersey, the caustic dust was composed of harmful elements such as glass, construction debris, and poisonous compounds such as lead, mercury, and asbestos. Those who helped with the cleanup and individuals living and working near the WTC have been greatly affected by this contaminated dust. Countless individuals who came in contact with the dust are reporting distressing respiratory issues, ranging from a severe cough to various forms of cancer, the most common being lung cancer.
A shirt saved by a WTC volunteer illuminated a plausible leading cause to the rampant lung ailments. Stored in a plastic bag for nearly five years, the volunteer’s shirt was tested and revealed extremely toxic levels of chrysotile asbestos, otherwise known as white asbestos. Astoundingly, contamination was 93,000 times higher than the average amount found in U.S. cities. This figure is also higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s reports of the most contaminated building after 9/11.
A recent study has revealed some alarming figures among those who responded to the WTC attacks. A lead researcher with the New York State Department of Health released the startling preliminary findings to the New York Post on January 6, 2008. The study found at least 204 rescue and recovery workers and volunteers have died since 9/11, falling victim to various cancers and disorders. The Post reported that a total of 98 fatalities have been confirmed with death certificates, and research shows 77 persons died of illnesses, including 55 deaths caused by lung and other cancers.
Taking into consideration the remarkable levels of asbestos and various other contaminants, it’s no wonder thousands of individuals associated with the aftermath are beset with respiratory problems and lung cancer. Despite the preventative measures to replace most of the asbestos-laden insulation originally installed in the north tower, an estimated 2,000 tons of asbestos was released into the air as a fine powder. Once absorbed by the body, asbestos adheres to the inner lining of the lungs, heart, and stomach. Unfortunately, microscopic asbestos fibers cannot be broken down or expelled by the body. As a result, asbestos exposure could potentially cause a variety of caustic and deadly illnesses, such as asbestosis and lung cancer. In addition, contact with asbestos over time can also lead to a very rare form of cancer, known as mesothelioma. For more information on asbestos cancer and mesothelioma treatment please see the resources at Asbestos.com.
On average, nearly 10,000 individuals in the United States die annually from asbestos-related diseases. If you or a loved one was near the WTC on 9/11, helped in the cleanup, or live or work near the site, you are advised to prudently monitor your health and seek guidance from a licensed doctor.
For those who have not done so already, it is not too late to contact The World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program. This program offers free and confidential monitoring examinations to those who responded to the WTC attacks. During the next five years, those participating in the program will receive free medical examinations at regular intervals to monitor health. The program’s website, WTCExams.org, provides information on how to sign up (deadline August 13, 2008) and examination locations.
For more information on the use of asbestos and the danger it poses to human health, please visit the Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center.