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Survey finds elevated rates of new asthma among WTC rescue and recovery workers
Date:8/27/2007

e Center collapse appears to have had significant respiratory health effects at least for people who worked at the site, said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner. These findings reflect the critical importance of getting appropriate respiratory protection to all workers as quickly as possible during a disaster, and making every effort to make sure workers wear them at all times. The events of 9/11 were unprecedented, and with the urgency of rescue operations and the difficulty of prolonged physical exertion with most types of respirators, there are no easy answers, even in retrospect.

Rescue and recovery workers were a diverse group that included firefighters, police officers, construction workers and volunteers, among others. The study found no significant differences among people of different occupations, but workers locations did affect their risk. Those who were caught in the dust cloud or worked on the debris pile reported asthma at higher rates (4.9% and 4.5% respectively), presumably because they inhaled more dust.

Asthma can be controlled with the right care and medications. Inhaled corticosteroids are a very effective treatment for people with frequent symptoms. By learning what triggers asthma and developing a plan to manage it, people can stay healthy for work, school, and other activities. The Health Department has collaborated with clinicians from WTC Centers of Excellence to develop and distribute treatment guidelines for WTC-related respiratory condition. The guidelines are available at http://home2.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/chi/chi25-7.pdf.

Update on Efforts to Learn More about WTC-Related Illness

The World Trade Center Health Registry, the largest public health registry in U.S. history, was launched in 2003 to track the health of people exposed to the collapse of the World Trade Center and those who worked a
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Contact: Geoffrey Cowley
gcowley@health.nyc.gov
212-788-5290
New York City Health Department
Source:Eurekalert

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