Washington. The horrific attack on America on September 11, 2001 (US 9/11 Terror Attack) is about to complete 20 years. On this occasion, there is a stir from Afghanistan to America. Meanwhile, there is such a news which is even more shocking. The workers and sanitation workers working in emergency situations after the attack are still facing serious health problems even after 20 years have passed.
More than 91,000 personnel and volunteers faced a variety of threats during the rescue, recovery and clean-up operations. As of March 21, 2021, about 80,785 rescue workers had enrolled in the World Trade Center health program, which was set up to monitor and treat their health after the attacks. Even now they are facing physical and mental health problems.
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Problems like shortness of breath, cancer, mental illness
The convention found that 45 percent of the respondents to the health program had respiratory-digestive diseases (conditions that affect the respiratory organs and upper digestive tract). A total of 16 percent have cancer and another 16 percent have a mental health illness. Of the respondents with health issues, only 40 per cent are between the ages of 45 and 64 and 83 per cent are male.
Our analysis shows that 3,439 first responders enrolled in the health program are now dead, which is far more than the 412 first responders who died on the day of the attacks.
Disorders of the respiratory and upper digestive systems are the leading cause of death (34 percent). It is followed by cancer (30 percent) and mental health problems (15 percent).
Along with these three causes, deaths due to musculoskeletal (pain in muscles, joints, nerves, cells etc.) and acute traumatic injuries have increased six-fold since the beginning of 2016.
an ongoing fight
With emerging health problems, the number of respondents enrolling in the health program is increasing every year. Over 16,000 respondents have enrolled in the last five years. Cancer has increased by 185 percent in the last five years, with leukemia (blood cancer) in particular emerging as a common problem, overtaking cancer of the rectum and bladder.
Prostate cancer is also common which has increased by 181 percent since 2016. Inhaling the toxic dust at the World Trade Center site may have exacerbated cell problems, leading to an increased number of inflammatory T-cells (a type of immune cell) in some respondents. This increased inflammation can eventually lead to prostate cancer.
Apart from this, there may also be a significant relationship between being present there for a long time and chronic heart diseases. Firefighters who arrived at the World Trade Center on the morning of the attacks were 44 percent more likely to develop heart disease than those who arrived the next day.
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mental health effects
About 15-20 percent of respondents are estimated to live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, which is nearly four times the rate seen in the general population.
Even after 20 years have passed, PTSD remains a growing problem for respondents. Nearly half of all respondents say they have a persistent need for mental health care for a range of mental health problems, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and guilt for survival.
COVID-19 and other emerging threats
Rescue workers’ underlying health conditions, such as cancer and respiratory illnesses, also put them at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. By the end of August 2020, some 1,172 rescuers had confirmed COVID-19. The number of people with cancer caused by exposure to asbestos in the World Trade Center is expected to increase in the coming years.
Continuous monitoring of the health of relief and rescue workers should remain a priority, especially given the increasing risk of new cancers related to asbestos.
It doesn’t matter how many years have elapsed since the September 11, 2001 attack. We will never forget this and will use every means to reunite those who have passed away with their families. (agency input)
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