Scientists say firefighters, who were exposed to the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11, are 19 percent more likely to have cancer than their non-exposed colleagues and a comparable section of the city's population.
According to medical journal The Lancet, there were 263 cancer cases in the exposed firefighters, compared with 238 expected from general population, while the non-exposed group had only 135 compared with 161 expected from the general population.
The study, led by David Prezant, chief medical officer of the Fire Department of the City of New York, looked at 9,853 male firefighters with health records dating back to before 9/11.
Another study by Juan Wisnivesky, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York State, tracked 27,000 workers who enrolled in federally funded monitoring programs. That study revealed that 28 percent had developed asthma, 42 percent had sinusitis and 39 percent had gastro esophageal reflux disease.
Twenty-eight percent had depression, 32 percent had posttraumatic stress disorder and 21 percent had panic disorder,
"Our findings show a substantial burden of persistent physical and mental disorders in rescue and recovery workers who rushed to the site of the WTC and labored there for weeks and months 10 years ago," the study said.
But World Trade Center-exposed rescue workers and civilians have had lower death rates than the New York City general population, said a third study by researchers at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
They said the fact that most of those exposed were employed and that they had volunteered for the study (employed people and study volunteers are largely healthy), could account for the result.