Public health

Death toll from 9/11 attacks continue to grow

Wednesday, 21 Sep 2016

At least 1000 people have died from illnesses related to their exposure to toxic dust following the terrorist attack on New York in September 2001.

And 37 000 people are officially recognised as sick, many with lung disease.

Dr Jim Melius who chairs the steering committee overseeing the US government’s health programme for 9/11 responders told the Guardian that over the next 5 years the death toll from health problems related to the New York attacks is likely to eclipse the 2753 deaths on the day that two hijacked passenger jets were flown into the World Trade Center.

“There are a lot of people who are very, very ill with lung disease who will see at least 10 years taken from their normal life span,” he said. “We are already seeing many more premature deaths occurring, and among younger people, from the cancers.”

The list of conditions that are officially recognised as 9/11 related include airway and digestive disorders, mental health conditions, musculoskeletal disorders, and cancers.

In the aftermath of the attack Christine Todd Whitman, the then head of the Environmental Protection Agency, assured residents of lower Manhattan that the air was safe.

She acknowledged to the Guardian that in hindsight she had been mistaken and apologised to those affected by the toxic debris.

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