Up to 525,000 people were exposed to toxic dust following the devastating collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In turn, that has sadly caused numerous health problems for thousands of people.
How harmful was the dust?
No one was thinking about the hazardous materials in the dust on the day that the twin towers were attacked.
But the plumes of smoke contained around 400 tons of hazardous materials, which can be expressed in the following percentages:
- Asbestos: 0.8%
- Cellulose from disintegrated paper: 9.2%
- Glass and other fibers: 40%
- Non-fibrous construction materials: 50%
With such harmful materials in the air, it is sadly not surprising that so many people who were there at the time are now suffering from breathing problems and more serious illnesses.
Support Is Available if You Suffer from a 9/11-related Health Problem
Today, it is well-known that the dust has caused numerous health problems for people who were in lower Manhattan during the aftermath of the attack.
Thankfully, following the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the United States government passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to provide people suffering from 9/11-related health conditions with medical care.
Together with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund that was introduced earlier for first responders, cleanup workers, and affected New York residents, people suffering from 9/11-related illnesses are now able to access government support.
And if you have a health condition related to the dust and fumes of the twin towers’ collapse, you could be eligible for lifetime healthcare and cash payments from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. Find out more on 911cancerclaim.com.
According to the most recent survey by the World Trade Center Health Registry, which tracks the health effects from exposure to the dust, 352 people have so far been diagnosed with asbestosis, due to being exposed to harmful asbestos.
Furthermore, 444 people have been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, due to exposure to asbestos and other harmful fibers.
But the actual number affected by asbestos fibers in the air is likely to be much higher. The World Trade Center Health Registry states anyone who was in a one and a half-mile radius of the twin towers at the time is at risk of having been exposed to asbestos as well as other carcinogens like mercury, lead, benzene, and dioxins.
As of 2021, almost 24,000 people have been diagnosed with a form of cancer related to the 9/11 dust.
The World Trade Center Health Registry lists the most common types of 9/11-related cancers. They include leukemia, melanoma, and colon cancer, but the five most common 9/11-related cancers, starting with the most common, are:
- Prostate cancer.
- Breast cancer.
- Thyroid cancer.
- Lung cancer.
- Kidney cancer.
World Trade Center Cough Syndrome
In addition to stating that 35% of those surveyed by the World Trade Center Health Registry had sought medical care for shortness of breath, the report showed that almost 70% of recovery personnel onsite during the aftermath of 9/11 have suffered from lung problems and respiratory diseases.
That includes what has become known as World Trade Center Cough Syndrome, which involves a combination of asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis, and bronchitis. It can further be complicated when the individual is suffering from gastrointestinal reflux disease.
Lastly, new evidence published in 2019 indicates emergency personnel who responded to the twin towers attacks have a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease.
In particular, the first responders who arrived onsite in the morning are at a higher risk than those who arrived later.
While we do not currently know exactly how many first responders have 9/11-related cardiovascular disease, the health condition seems to be more common in the heroes that arrived on the scene early than originally believed.