Associations of World Trade Center exposures with pulmonary and cardiometabolic outcomes among children seeking care for health concerns
Prior research on the physical health of children exposed to the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks has largely relied on parental report via questionnaire. We examined the impact of clinically-reported exposures on the physical health of children who lived and/or attended school in downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2001.
We performed a cross-sectional study of 148 patients who presented to the WTC Environmental Health Center/Survivors Health Program, and were ≤ 18 years old on September 11, 2001.
38.5% were caught in the dust cloud from the collapsing buildings on September 11; over 80% spent ≥ 1 day in their home between September 11 and 18, 2001; and 25.7% reported home dust exposure. New-onset nasal/sinus congestion was reported in 52.7%, while nearly one-third reported new gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) symptoms. Prehypertension or hypertension was identified in 45.5%. Multivariable regression with exposure variables, body mass index category, and age as covariates identified strongest associations of dust cloud with spirometry (17.1% decrease in maximum midexpiratory flow). Younger children experienced increased peripheral eosinophils (+0.098% per year, p=0.023), while older children experienced more new-onset GERD (OR 1.17, p=0.004), headaches (OR 1.10, p=0.011), and prehypertension (OR 1.09, p=0.024). Home dust exposure was associated with reduced high-density lipoprotein (-10.3mg/dL, p=0.027) and elevated triglycerides (+36.3mg/dL, p=0.033).
While these findings cannot be assumed to generalize to all children exposed to the WTC attacks, they strongly suggest the need for more extensive study of respiratory, metabolic, and cardiovascular consequences.
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ABSTRACT: The response to 9/11 continues into its 14th year. The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), a long-term monitoring and treatment program now funded by the Zadroga Act of 2010, includes >60,000 World Trade Center (WTC) disaster responders and community members ("survivors"). The aim of this review is to identify several elements that have had a critical impact on the evolution of the WTC response and, directly or indirectly, the health of the WTC-exposed population. It further explores post-disaster monitoring efforts, recent scientific findings from the WTCHP, and some implications of this experience for ongoing and future environmental disaster response. Transparency and responsiveness, site safety and worker training, assessment of acute and chronic exposure, and development of clinical expertise are interconnected elements determining efficacy of disaster response. Even in a relatively well-resourced environment, challenges regarding allocation of appropriate attention to vulnerable populations and integration of treatment response to significant medical and mental health comorbidities remain areas of ongoing programmatic development. Copyright © 2014 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. All rights reserved.Annals of Global Health 07/2014; 80(4):320-331. DOI:10.1016/j.aogh.2014.08.215
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ABSTRACT: Despite incremental lessons learned since 9/11, responder and community health remain at unnecessary risk during responses to catastrophic disasters, as evidenced during the BP Deepwater Horizon spill and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Sandy. Much of the health harm that occurs during disaster response, as distinct from during the disaster event itself, is avoidable. Protection of public health should be an integral component of disaster response, which should “do no additional harm.” This commentary examines how challenges and gaps the World Trade Center response resulted in preventable occupational and environmental health harm. It proposes changes in disaster response policies to better protect the health of rescue and recovery workers, volunteers, and impacted worker and residential communities. Am. J. Ind. Med. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.American Journal of Industrial Medicine 11/2014; 57(11). DOI:10.1002/ajim.22386 · 1.74 Impact Factor