70% of Ground Zero Workers Developed Lung Problems

Workers at Ground Zero experiencing lung problems

06.09.2006

Almost 70% of the people who worked at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on New York are suffering lung damage.

The study by Manhattan's Mount Sinai Medical Centre between July 2002 and April 2004 included police officers, fire fighters, construction workers, transport workers and volunteers and focused mainly on the "World Trade Centre cough" - an affliction which was little understood immediately after the attacks but quickly became a concern for health experts, The problems tended to be worst among those who arrived first at the site.

Doctors at Mount Sinai said the results proved conclusively that working at Ground Zero made people ill, and that some would continue to suffer the effects for the rest of their lives.

Patients had lung abnormalities at a rate double that expected in the general population, and they continued for months and sometimes years.

The government's response has been heavily criticised as they had not fully delivered what was promised. No full-time staff were assigned to 9/11 health issues, and New York City only released clinical guidelines to help doctors properly diagnose related illnesses last week, almost five years after the attacks.

Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg admitted they have a responsibility to do more to ensure that all people have access to the care they need and deserve.

Ground Zero lung damage

New initiatives are set to reflect commitment to a health policy that is both responsive and responsible," Mr Bloomberg said.

"We owe that to the thousands of selfless people who came to our aid when we needed them most, and to all those who suffer health problems as a result of the terrorist attacks."

Some 8,000 people who spent time at Ground Zero have brought a class action lawsuit against the city and its contractors, blaming 9/11 for their sinusitis, cancers and other illnesses or saying they fear they will become sick in the future.

Do you have a claim? If you have been effected by lung problems which you believe were caused in the workplace, our solicitors can help. Visit our workplace illness claims section.