World Trade Center workers’ health problems
(New York-WABC, September 5, 2006) (WABC) — On September 5, 2006 Mount Sinai Hospital released one of the largest studies done on first responders to the World Trade Center Disaster.
The experts who conducted the story and reported on it today say it paints a bleak picture, and suggests as many as 70 percent of those who responded to the disaster and turned out to help had, have or will face long term health consequences.
Here are quotes from several who attended the announcement of the study:
Dr. Philip Landrigan, Chair, Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai:
Speaking at a news conference regarding the release of the study, Dr. Landrigan said this of the dust at Ground Zero, the landfills, and other areas:
“This was extremely toxic dust. This dust, the largest single component of it was pulverized concrete with a PH of 10 or 11 which is to say is very alkaline and has the PH of practically Draino. And the people who inhaled this material in time in any particular form- it penetrated deep into their lungs and penetrated deep into their sinus cavities, causing profound irritation and scarring, and we know additionally that the second major component of the dust was trillions upon trillions of shards, microscopic shards of glass which people inhaled again deep into their lungs. We know asbestos was the third component. And given the extraordinarily toxic nature of this stew it’s a very logical projection to anticipate long term disease.”
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY):
Speaking at the press conference announcing the findings from the Mt. Sinai Medical Center World Trace Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program:
“One thing Dr Herbert didn’t mention which is in the overall report is that 40 percent of the people that came here for screening had no insurance. Some of them never have had insurance, and others lost their insurance when they lost their job or when they became disabled and could no longer work. So we are talking about 40 percent of the people who have been screened here had no insurance. So imagine how they felt. You have respitory problems, you have gastrointestinal problems, you may need some mental health follow-ups. Well, thank you very much, how am I going to get that, I have no insurance. So we were able to get 125 million dollars in 9/11 worker aide. We had to keep fighting to put it in the budget. ”
Quote from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY):
“Almost three thousand people lost their lives on 9/11. The period of data that is being released today confirms that many many more lost their health. Anyone that has been following the growing health crisis knows that it is long past time for the federal government to release a concrete coordinated plan that ensures that everyone that was exposed to the deadly toxins at ground zero is medically monitors and everyone who is sick is treated. We have just heard Dr. Herbert. The picture she paints is bleak. The crisis is far worse than any of us that were deeply involved in it ever expected. We thought half were sick. The numbers today shockingly show that almost 70 percent screened experienced direct health effects of 9/11, and that 60 percent continue to be sick and that 40 percent have do not have any health coverage.
We have to remember that the numbers they are releasing today show only a fraction of the crisis in the number of people who are sick. These numbers do not include the 15,000 firefighters, and fire officers who are being monitored in a separate program. These numbers do not include the thousands of federal workers who worked on the site. These numbers to do not include thousands upon thousands of area workers, residents and school children who were exposed to the same deadly toxins, and they tell my office that they too are sick and they are pleading to be part of the monitoring program.”