New York City To Track Long-Term Health Effects of World Trade Center Collapse
New York City health officials on Thursday announced they will resurvey more than 71,000 people who reported respiratory and mental health problems after the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center collapse, the New York Times reports (DePalma, New York Times, 6/2).
The World Trade Center Health Registry initially surveyed 71,437 people who worked at ground zero or were in the area at the time of the attacks. Registrants reported respiratory problems, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, while tens of thousands of first responders said they developed sinusitis, cancers and other health problems (Westfeldt, AP/Tallahassee Democrat, 6/1).
Officials want to examine the long-term effects of the health conditions reported in the initial survey. Respondents will be surveyed every two years for up to 20 years, according to the Times. Results of this year's follow-up survey could be released by the end of the year, and they will be used by city and federal health officials to determine medical trends and to improve treatment options.
Thomas Frieden, commissioner of New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said, "We wish we knew what the long-term effects of 9/11 are on the health and mental health of those exposed, but we don't." He added, "One of the best ways we have to get that information is from the participation of the tens of thousands of people who are part of this unique project."
John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and federal coordinator of 9/11 health programs, said, "The registry is the scientific platform on which additional programmatic decisions can be made" (New York Times, 6/2).