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Most 9/11 rescuers at Ground Zero have breathing problems

Xinhuanet | September 8 2006

Nearly 70 percent of the rescue workers who toiled in the dust and fumes at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks suffer breathing problems, said a study by the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan.

Following the attack, the air in lower Manhattan was polluted with toxic dust from the pulverized skyscrapers. Police, firefighters and others had high rates of lung abnormalities, and many such problems could last a lifetime, the study said Tuesday.

"There should no longer be any doubt about the health effects of the World Trade Center. Our patients are sick," said Dr. Robin Herbert, codirector of the group.

The study was based on detailed examinations of 9,442 of the estimated 40,000 Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers between July 2002 and April 2004.

Meanwhile, a protest came a day after publication of the study. A crowd of about 250 gathered at Ground Zero site of the Twin Towers destroyed in the attack, demanding state and federal medical and financial help.

Also, a coalition of low-income people who worked or lived near the World Trade Center said the government should take responsibility and help some 40,000 affected people.

The group said there had been no government-funded treatment program for those who inhaled the dangerous fumes.

On Tuesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on the federal government to provide more funds for World Trade Center health issues. He wanted to reopen a compensation fund that already stopped taking applications from victims in 2003.

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