9/11 Worker Survey Reveals Increased Asthma Rates

A survey of the World Trade Center Health Registry, published today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives and conducted by New York City's Health Department, has found elevated rates of new asthma among WTC rescue and recovery workers.

Findings released today show that 3.6 percent of the 25,000 rescue and recovery workers enrolled in the Registry report developing asthma after working at the site, 12 times the normal rate expected for the adult population during such a time period. The rescue and recovery workers are a subset of the 71,000 people enrolled in the registry. The survey, conducted in 2003 and 2004, found that arriving soon after the buildings collapsed, or working on the WTC pile over a long period, increased the workers' risk of developing asthma. Workers who arrived on Sept. 11, 2001, and worked more than 90 days reported the highest rate of new asthma, 7 percent.

Though respirator use increased as the clean-up progressed, the survey states, many workers did not wear respiratory protection at the outset. Certain respirators can reduce exposure to hazardous dust when used correctly, but the survey could not distinguish among different types of masks or respirators, nor could it gauge correct usage.

Workers who wore them on September 11th and 12th reported newly-diagnosed asthma at lower rates (4 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively) than those who did not (6.3 percent and 4.5 percent). The longer the period of not wearing masks or respirators, the greater the risk, the survey found.

The Health Department has collaborated with clinicians from WTC Centers of Excellence to develop and distribute treatment guidelines for WTC-related respiratory condition. The guidelines are available at www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/chi/chi25-7.pdf.

The Health Department is now re-surveying all 71,000 registrants to learn more about their current health status. So far, nearly 60 percent of registrants have responded. Previous findings from the WTC Health Registry can be found at www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wtc/materials.html.

Download Center

  • The Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and in and outs. This guide is here to help!

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Thinking of getting an online safety training solution at work but not sure how to evaluate different solutions and find the one that's best for your company? Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • SDS Software Buyer's Guide

    Whether this is your first time shopping for online SDS software or you’re upgrading from a legacy solution, this guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that works best for you and your company.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2021

    November December 2021

    Featuring:

    • GAS DETECTION
      How to Streamline Gas Detector Maintenance
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2021
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      How PPE Can Help You Deal with the Harsh Condition of Winter
    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Tackling Hearing Protection in the Workplace
    View This Issue