The 9/11 response team includes emergency workers and clean up crews. They still have significant health problems 20 years later. More than 91,000 volunteers and workers were expose to various hazards during rescue, recovery, and clean-up operations.
Around 80,785 of the responders had signed up for the World Trade Centre Health Program by March 2021. This program was establish after the attacks and is use to monitor their health as well as treat them. Our published research, which was based on the examination of these records. Now shows the variety of mental and physical health issues respondents still face.
Mental Illness, Breathing Problems, Cancer Response
The health program found that 45% of respondents had an aerodigestive. Disorder (conditions that affect their upper digestive tract and airways). One-sixth of the responders have been diagnose with cancer, and 16% have mental illness. Only 40% of those with health problems are between 45 and 64 years old, 83% are men.
Our analysis shows that 3,439 responders to the health program are now deceased more than the 412 initial responders who were killed on the day of attacks. The number one cause for death is respiratory and upper digestive tract diseases (34%), just ahead of cancer (30%), and mental health problems (15%). Since 2016, the number of deaths due to these factors has increased six fold.
An Ongoing Battle Response
Each year, the number of people who enroll in the health program for emerging health problems is increasing. In the last five years, more than 16,000 people have signed up. The number of cancer cases has increased 185% in the last five years. Leukaemia is a particularly prevalent form of cancer, surpassing bladder and colon cancers.
This is a 175% increase in leukaemia cases during a 5-year period. It’s not surprising. A link has been established between acute myeloid and benzene-exposed patients. One of the most toxic exposures at World Trade Center is jet fuel. Acute myeloid leukaemia, which is also reported by responders, is also reported by residents of Lower Manhattan who have higher-than-normal rates.
The incidence of prostate cancer has increased 181% in the last year, with a total of 668 cases. This is consistent with the age of most of the participants in the health program, but some responders are developing aggressive and fast-growing forms of prostate cancer.
Inhaling toxic dust from the World Trade Centre site can trigger a series of cellular events that may increase the number of inflammatory immune cells (a type or immune cell) in some responders. This may eventually lead to the development of prostate cancer.
A significant association may exist between increased exposure to the World Trade Centre, and a greater risk of long-term heart disease (disease that affects the heart and blood vessels). Responding firefighters to the World Trade Centre the morning after the attacks were reported to be 44% more likely than those who arrive on the same day.
Mental Health Effects Response
Around 15-20% of respondents said to have post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms (PTSD), which is four times the rate in the general population. PTSD continues to be a problem for responders despite the fact that it has been around for 20 years. Nearly half of responders say they require ongoing mental health care for a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and survivor’s guilt.
Brain scans taken by some respondents also showed early-stage dementia, according to researchers. This confirms previous research that cognitive impairment in responders is twice as common as it is for people age 10-20 years.
COVID-19 And Other Emerging Threats
COVID-19 is also vulnerable to responders with underlying conditions such as asthma and cancer. Around 1,172 respondents had confirmed COVID-19 by the end of August 2020. Even among those who have not been infect by the pandemic, it has worsen PTSD. Which is a key condition that cause by recovery from terrorist attacks and search and rescue.
More than 100 people have died from complications of the virus that has also exacerbated PTSD symptoms in other responders. In the coming years, it is expect that there will be an increase in the number of people. Who have been expose to asbestos at the World Trade Centre. Because mesothelioma, a form of cancer that is cause by asbestos, takes between 20-50 years to develop. At least 352 people had been diagnose as having the lung condition asbestosis. In addition, at least 444 were diagnose with pulmonary fibrosis. The toxic dust could have contributed to the asbestosis and other fibres.