A Dormant Danger in the Dust

As time elapses, the fateful and devastating effects of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001 continue to unfold. Countless hopes and dreams went down with the collapsing World Trade Center towers­—an intangible loss that can never be calculated or aptly assessed. However, a looming concern regarding the health effects of the aftermath continues to rise.When the World Trade Center (WTC) towers crumbled, a dust cloud containing more than 2,500 contaminants spread across the city—reaching as far as New Jersey. The toxic dust was composed of harmful elements such as construction debris, glass and other fibers, and poisonous compounds such as lead, mercury, and asbestos. Those living and working near the WTC and those who assisted in cleanup were gravely affected by this contaminated dust. Many of those exposed to the dust have experienced disquieting health issues, ranging from problems with breathing to various forms of cancer, the most common being lung cancer.

On January 6, 2008, the New York Post released the preliminary results of a study by the New York State Department of Health, which reported at least 204 rescue and recovery workers and volunteers have died since 9/11, falling victim to a range of cancers and other disorders. The lead researcher informed The Post that a total of 98 fatalities have been confirmed with death certificates. The research shows that 77 persons died of illnesses, including 55 deaths caused by lung and other cancers.

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