NEW YORK – Nearly 70 percent of recovery workers who responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center suffered lung problems during or after their work at ground zero, a new health study released Tuesday shows. Less than a week before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mount Sinai Medical Center issued the results of the largest study on related health effects. It found, among other things, that the ailments tended to be worst among those who arrived first at the site, and that high rates of lung “abnormalities” continued years later. The study focused mostly on what has been dubbed “World Trade Center cough,” which was little understood immediately after the attacks but became a chief concern of health experts and advocates.
Not surprising at all, considering all the fine particles, asbestos, PAHs, elemental Carbon, PCBs, and numerous other nasties that were released in a couple of catastrophic explosions, and the utter unpreparedness of the first responders, who were, after all, going in to save other peoples’ lives, not looking out for the air they were breathing. Calling this major air pollution related health disaster the “World Trade Center Cough” is a little like calling World War II the “Skirmish with Germany, Part Deaux”, but what do I know about the power of language and framing!