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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Columbia Researcher Reports 9/11-Related Illness Still Common

Fifteen years after the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, scientists at the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and collaborators at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health report that significant health problems continue to affect people exposed to hazards following collapse of the towers. In four new studies of 71,000 people enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry, they report cancer rates through 2011, an analysis of how acid reflux is interrelated with asthma and PTSD, asthma in workers at the Staten Island landfill, and the impact of 9/11 exposure on job loss and early retirement among rescue and recovery workers. The results are published in a special 9/11-themed issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.


[Photo: Dr. Steven Stellman]

Enrollment in the Registry took place in 2003-04 and was open to people who lived, worked or went to school in the area of the WTC disaster, or were involved in rescue and recovery efforts.

“A decade and a half after the terrorist attacks of September 11, we have the clearest picture yet on the effects of the events on the health and well being of those most affected,” says Dr. Steven Stellman, a co-author on the four papers, professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and former research director of the Registry. “Earlier studies focused on the immediate impact which resulted in high rates of respiratory illnesses such as asthma, and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. The Registry continues to monitor the population to assess changes in health over time, emphasizing chronic illnesses that may take longer to appear, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as broader questions of health care access and utilization, and quality of life.

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