Awareness and Early Intervention Offer Hope

Last fall we posted about the 9/11 related cancers and other health issues that former students, teachers and employees from Stuyvesant High School have been experiencing in the 16 years since the terrorist attacks occurred at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

PIX11 reported on an event held at Stuyvesant High School February 8th to help bring more awareness to the World Trade Center Health Program. Only roughly 1/5th of the people who were living, working and going to school in the Exposure Zone following 9/11 are taking advantage of the free healthcare that’s available to them.

Former student Shoshana Dornhall who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma wasn’t aware that she was entitled to the compensation funds:

I really only thought of these funds as being used by and available to first responders,” “It had not occurred to me it would be available to me, and residents, and teachers, and everyone here for the events of 9/11.
— Shoshana Dornhall

A September 2017 CNN article reported on an NYU Langone Health study published in the journal Environment International that analyzed 123 children registered in the World Trade Center Health Registry, had been receiving annual check-ups and were exposed to the toxic dust cloud which contained “chemicals and carcinogens such as perfluoroalkyl substances or PFASs, a class of chemicals used to make products stain-resistant, nonstick or waterproof.” The children were studied following the attacks in Lower Manhattan and compared with 185 New York children who were not eligible to register with the WTC Health Registry.  The study “suggests that exposure to PFASs after the 9/11 attacks could be tied to abnormal cholesterol levels in teens and young adults who were children when the towers fell. Such high cholesterol can be a risk factor of heart disease.”

Since 9/11, we have focused a lot of attention on the psychological and mental fallout from witnessing the tragedy, but only now are the potential physical consequences of being within the disaster zone itself becoming clear,
— Leonardo Trasande - study lead investigator and health epidemiologist

Trasande emphasizes that awareness of the heart disease risk that’s developed from exposure to the PFASs and other toxic debris of 9/11, along with a healthy diet and exercise may help those exposed to stay healthy. 

The study participants will continue to be followed, their health monitored, and they will be referred to the CDC's program if they are determined to have 9/11-related health issues.

More events are planned to bring to light the health issues that have and are still developing in the numerous residents, first responders, students and workers that were exposed to the poisonous air they breathed in as they tried to bring a sense of normalcy to their lives following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

WTC image credit 9/11 Photos via Flickr and adapted for use.