The prominent New England Journal of Medicine has found that many of the rescue workers and responders to the World Trade Center attacks continued to suffer breathing difficulties that did not improve in the years since being exposed to the toxic dust and debris.
The effects go beyond what was first dubbed “World Trade Center Cough” , although that symptom has lingered in some emergency workers, says study coauthor Thomas Aldrich,MD, a pulmonologist at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York City. 9/11 WTC workers who inhaled the thick dust at Ground Zero and nearby have not just the “World Trade Center Cough,” but also bronchitis, asthma and symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and decreased lung function.
The dust at the site has been described as “a complex mixture of dust, cement and glass fibers,” according to one of the first environmental scientist who took samples. Damage by this toxic mixture was worsened because some protective supplies, such as appropriate respirators, were not available.
Medical monitoring and compensation is available under the recently passed Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Act. The Zadroga 9/11 Act provides for comprehensive medical monitoring and treatment to those first responders, clean-up and other workers exposed to the toxic dust. The Zadroda 9/11 Act also proves for monetary compensation to construction workers, rescue workers, volunteers and clean-up workers with respiratory and other injuries, even if the injuries did not manifest or appear until after the exposure to the toxic dust and debris.