As the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks approaches, nearly 10,000 people have suffered cancers linked to the toxic dust, smoke and plumes at Ground Zero, the New York Post reported here on Sunday, Aug. 12.
The federal World Trade Center Health Program has counted 9,795 first responders, Downtown workers, residents, students and others with cancer "deemed 9/11-related," the Post reported.
Further, more than 1,700 first responders and others affected have died, including 420 of those stricken with cancer, officials told the Post. Cancers have various latency periods, typically emerging years after exposure to harmful substances.
Media reports dating to Sept. 12, 2001, detail asbestos, heavy metals, human remains and dust that covered rescue workers and nearby residents for days following the attacks as plumes of smoke swirled blocks away from Ground Zero.
Non-responders including Wall Street workers, students, nearby residents and many volunteers did not have protective outfits, masks, respirators, eye-gear or other ways to guard against the ash-like toxic dust.
The Post describes one worker's story about retrieving paperwork for weeks in her wrecked office for colleagues -- and ultimately suffering from advanced brain cancer.
The average age of Ground Zero workers and others affected has risen from 38 to 55, the Post reported. Some are in their 70s.
Epidemiology studies have confirmed that 9/11 rescue and recovery workers have significantly higher rates of thyroid cancer and skin melanoma, which is potentially fatal, than found in the general population, and face a higher risk of bladder cancer.
Non-responders have had significantly higher rates of breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Cancers raising red flags include leukemia and other blood-cell disorders, Dr. Michael Crane, medical director of the WTC Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital told the Post.
The Post also cited the experience of one New York Police Department (NYPD) sergeant who worked 344 hours at Ground Zero, sometimes sleeping at the site, and at the Fresh Kills landfill, where workers sifted debris for remains for months following the terrorist attacks.
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