Participants exposed to dust clouds and injury on 9/11 were later diagnosed with respiratory and heart diseases, according to a study published in Injury Epidemiology.
“Our findings indicate that intense exposure on a single day — the first day of the disaster — contributes substantially to the risk of developing chronic conditions,” Robert M. Brackbill, PhD, of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said in a press release.
Researchers reviewed data from the WTC Health Registry of 8,701 participants (51% men; 56% aged 25 to 44 years) who were area workers (n = 7,503), passers-by (n = 818), rescue and recovery workers (n = 249) and residents (n = 131) on the day of the terrorist attack. Participants were free from CVD, diabetes, asthma and other non-neoplastic lung diseases before exposure to injury and the dust cloud. They were followed for up to 11 years.
Acute exposures were defined as immersion in the dust cloud or injury on 9/11.
During follow-up, 327 cases of diabetes, 308 cases of asthma, 297 cases of non-neoplastic lung diseases and 92 cases of heart disease were reported.
Angina and MI were linked to participants who had one (adjusted HR = 2; 95% CI, 1.1-3.6), two (aHR = 3.1; 95% CI, 1.2-7.9) and three or more injuries (aHR = 6.8; 95% CI, 2-22.6). The link had a significant dose-response relationship (P < .0001).
In area workers who returned to their workplaces at least a day after the terrorist attack, angina and MI were associated with three or more injuries (aHR = 18.3; 95% CI, 4.1-82.2), which was also a dose-response relationship (P = .0003).
Researchers did not see a relationship between diabetes and dust cloud exposure or injury.
Dust cloud exposure was related to the development of asthma and non-neoplastic lung diseases (aHR for each condition = 1.3; 95% CI, 1-1.6).
“Clinicians should be aware of the potential risk of chronic disease among those exposed to the World Trade Center attacks,” Brackbill and colleagues wrote. – by Darlene Dobkowski
The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.