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

ower Manhattan adult residents and workers had developed asthma in the two to three years after 9/11 -- a rate believed to be twice the baseline rate of asthma development over that period. The asthma rate was 3.7 percent among residents who didn't evacuate on 9/11, 3.6 percent among residents who returned to their homes within two days, and 2 percent among those who didn't return home until December 2001.

High rates of asthma development were also noted among downtown workers who returned to their jobs within days of the disaster (3.5 percent) and passersby who were in Manhattan the morning of the attacks (3.6 percent).

The high asthma rates among these groups are similar to those previously published for rescue and recovery workers/volunteers.

The study also found PTSD rates of 20 percent or higher for residents and workers who couldn't or wouldn't return to lower Manhattan for months after 9/11 and for people who didn't evacuate. The finding isn't surprising, because people with PTSD tend to avoid the site of their traumatic experience, the study authors explained.

"These data show that rescue and recovery workers were not the only groups affected. Living and working near the WTC site also put people at risk of health problems," Dr. Mark Farfel, director of the World Trade Center Health Registry, said in an NYC health department news release.

"The health impact of 9/11 reached far beyond the deaths and injuries that occurred that day," Lorna Thorpe, the health department's deputy commissioner for epidemiology, added in the news release. "But many of the health issues that have emerged, such as asthma and PTSD, are treatable. Free treatment is available. Anyone still in need of help should ... visit nyc.gov."

More information

Here's where you can find the World Trade Center Health Registry.


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