A recent study of 183 First Responders was conducted by the World Trade Center Health Program Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The study found that First Responders who were exposed to the toxic plume on September 11th and continued to work recovery efforts for at least 90 days thereafter, had higher levels of the protein albumin in their urine as compared to those who were less exposed. High levels of albumin may be an indicator of kidney dysfunction and disease.
The study was authored by Dr. Mary Ann McLaughlin of Mount Sinai and the findings were presented at the ASN Kidney Week 2013 in Atlanta on November 9th. She reported that inhaled particles from Ground Zero such as dust, glass, heavy metals and other fibers that were in the air, could have been the cause of damage found in the lining of arteries for some First Responders. This damage in turn could affect kidney function.
If kidneys are not functioning properly then albumin can leak into the urine and can cause what’s known as albuminuria. Persistent albuminuria may indicate the onset of kidney disease. The World Trade Center Health Program is still collecting information and data about First Responders and the relationship between Ground Zero exposure time and kidney damage. It is too early to understand the long term affects.
Although 9/11 happened over 12 years ago, it could take years for illnesses to become evident. Since the enactment of the Zadroga Bill, many more illnesses have been studied and as a result have been added as covered conditions such as certain cancers and most recently prostate cancer.
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