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9/11's Health Effects Lingered for Years
Date:9/10/2008

Injured, workers and passersby developed psychological, respiratory woes, latest NYC report finds

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Two to three years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, psychological trauma and new respiratory problems were still elevated among people enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry, according to the latest New York City health department study.

Released on the eve of the seventh anniversary, the study looked at the health effects among all 71,437 participants of the registry, which includes rescue and recovery workers, lower Manhattan residents, area workers, commuters and passersby. Among the registrants: more than half reported being in the dust cloud from the collapsing World Trade Center towers; 70 percent witnessed a traumatic sight, such as a plane hitting a tower; and 13 percent suffered an injury on 9/11.

Those 71,437 people represent only about 17.4 percent of people whose exposure to the disaster would have made them eligible to enroll in the registry.

Two to three years after 9/11, 3 percent of all adult enrollees reported they'd developed new asthma, 16 percent had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 8 percent had severe psychological distress, according to the study, published in the Journal of Urban Health.

Rescue and recovery workers who worked on the debris pile had the highest rate of new asthma (6 percent), while the PTSD rate was highest among injured (35 percent), low-income (31 percent) and Hispanic (30 percent) enrollees. Overall, minorities, people with low incomes, and women experienced higher rates of mental and physical problems.

Based on the figures from the registry, the study authors estimated that more than 400,000 people were exposed to the WTC disaster, 35,000 to 70,000 developed PTSD, and 3,800 to 12,600 people developed asthma as a result of the day's events.

The study found that 3 percent of L
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