213213 Persistent respiratory and mental health effects in Lower Manhattan workers after the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:06 PM

CE Caplan Shaw, MD , Medicine, NYU, New York, NY
A. Kazeros, MD , Medicine, NYU, New York, NY
S. Parsia, MD , Medicine, NYU, New York, NY
Joan Reibman, MD , Bellevue WTC Healthcare Center, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
Background: Approximately 250,000 people worked in Lower Manhattan at the time of the WTC attacks. Many were exposed to the dust clouds as the buildings collapsed; others to persistent dust and fumes when they returned to work one week later. Established in 2005, the WTC Environmental Health Center treats symptomatic area workers with WTC exposures. We now report on the presence of persistent medical and mental health symptoms.

Methods: Self-referred patients underwent an interviewer-administered questionnaire and standardized medical and mental health evaluation.

Results: Between September 2005 and May 2009, 2886 patients enrolled in the program; 1136 were local workers (54% women, and diverse race/ethnicity). Upper respiratory symptoms were present in 62%, lower respiratory symptoms (cough, wheeze, chest tightness or dyspnea) were common. Many had persistent symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression.

Conclusion: WTC-exposed area workers in a treatment program have persistent respiratory and mental health symptoms up to 8 years after 9/11 indicating an ongoing need for evaluation and treatment.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the persistence of adverse respiratory and mental health effects of the WTC disaster in the non-responder population.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted this research, along with the team.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.