World Trade Center Disaster Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risks
It’s been 14 years since the catastrophic terror attack on the World Trade Center.
The death toll was devastating at the time, but there will be more victims of 9/11 that will lose their lives in coming years because of cancer and other ill-effects caused by the collapse of the towers.
If you were on-site or near the World Trade Center disaster, you could be at risk for mesothelioma, lung cancer or other medical issues caused by the dust and debris. Here’s what you need to know.
Experts May Have Underestimated the Health Impact of 9/11
Just a week after the disaster, the EPA’s Christie Whitman said, “I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C., that their air is safe to breathe.” But then a year later, a phenomenon was noted by Dr. David Prezant, Chief Medical Officer of the FDNY, who named it “World Trade Center” cough.
Prezant used this to describe an illness he had seen in first responders with symptoms including asthma, bronchitis, persistent cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, congestion, and acid reflux.
This long-term respiratory disorder is one of the less severe health impacts seen in survivors and first responders that were around the impact area of the attack. Lung cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer and myeloma have all been observed in survivors and first responders.
Mesothelioma is the next illness expected to propagate in this population. Because mesothelioma has a minimum 11 year latency period and often much longer, the scope of the health impact of 9/11 won’t be known for quite some time.
What Can Cause 9/11 Related Mesothelioma?
The dust, debris and smoke that permeated Manhattan after 9/11 contained a laundry list of potential carcinogens including asbestos, heavy metals, silica, polycyclic hydrocarbons, benzene, polychlorinated biphenyls and other volatile substances.
With asbestos, even a one-time heavy exposure can be enough to cause mesothelioma. Most mesothelioma victims have ongoing exposure to asbestos over a period of years, but this is not always the case.
The fact is, the 9/11 incident is unique and not something medical experts have seen before – and hopefully that we’ll never see again. A little bit of asbestos is generally not enough to cause negative health consequences, but no level of asbestos is “safe.”
When the towers came down, experts estimate between 400 and 1,000 tons of asbestos leached into the air in Manhattan and surrounding areas. When the EPA tested the air in the aftermath of the incident, asbestos levels were very high.
Who Is at Risk for 9/11 Asbestos Exposure?
Several groups are at risk based on the great volume of asbestos released from the collapse of the Twin Towers. These include first responders, 9/11 survivors, tourists in the area, and residents of lower Manhattan (and perhaps beyond).
Even after the air cleared visibly, asbestos may have remained in the air since it’s invisible to the naked eye and can stay airborne for a surprisingly long time. If you fall into any of these groups, you should monitor your health closely.
One of the highest profile victims of the negative health impacts of 9/11 is the “Dust Lady.” You likely saw photos of her in the press. Marcy Borders, 28 at the time, was photographed as she staggered out of Tower 1 coated in dust having survived the attack only to die 14 years later of stomach cancer.
After her cancer diagnosis, Borders said, “Did this thing [9/11] ignite cancer cells in me? I definitely believe it because I haven’t had any illnesses.” More than 98 deaths have been reported linked to 9/11 health complications and the numbers continue to rise.
Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? Contact Bergman Draper Oslund for Help
Contact Bergman Draper Oslund at (888) 647-6007 for a free case evaluation if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. You don’t need to know how you were exposed to asbestos – that’s something we will help discover as part of your claim process.
We have extensive asbestos exposure research from our years working with mesothelioma victims and are ready to help you get the answers you deserve. We have won more than $700 million for our clients and are ready to fight for your rights. Call now. (888) 647-6007
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