People Exposed to Ground Zero Dust Still Experiencing Headaches

Not surprisingly, those workers and residents who were exposed to the dust and fumes that were caused by the collapse of the <"">World Trade Center’s Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 continue to report that they still suffer from headaches, said Science Daily. The publication cited just-released research scheduled for presentation at the American Academy of Neurology’s 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada from April 10 to April 17, 2010.

“We knew that headaches were common in people living and working near the World Trade Center on and immediately after 9/11, but this is the first study to look at headaches several years after the event,” said study author Sara Crystal, MD, of the NYU School of Medicine in New York City, quoted Science Daily.

The study looked at 765 people who were both enrolled in the Bellevue Hospital World Trade Center Environmental Health Center seven years after the building collapse and who did not complain of headache symptoms prior to the terrorist attacks, said Science Daily. Of the 765, over half—approximately 55 percent—reported that they experienced exposure to the initial World Trade Center dust cloud, explained Science Daily.

Indicating a “common and persistent symptom” of the dust and fumes present at the site, 43 percent of those surveyed reported headaches in the first four weeks preceding enrollment in the study, said Science Daily. Also, it seems that those who were exposed to the first dust cloud are likelier to report experiencing headaches, versus those not exposed to the massive cloud of dust that descended on lower Manhattan following the attacks. This could indicate, noted Science Daily, that increased exposure could be linked to the development of “persistent” headaches. Wheezing; breathlessness with exertion, such as in exercise; nasal drip; sinus congestion; and reflux disease are also all possible associated symptoms, reported Science Daily.

“More research needs to be done on the possible longer-term effects of exposure to gasses and dust when the World Trade Center fell,” Crystal said, quoted Science Daily. “We also need additional studies to understand the relationship between headaches, other physical symptoms, and mental health issues,” Crystal added.

Earlier this month we wrote that media sources reported that settlement talks were underway in thousands of lawsuits brought by rescue workers who helped in rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero in the weeks following the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. At least 9,000 Ground Zero rescue workers filed suit against 90 government and private entities, claiming that contaminants at the site made them ill. Plaintiffs claim that inadequate safeguards were taken to prevent them from becoming ill. Defendants include the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; plaintiffs include firefighters, police officers, and construction workers.

According to a report in The New York Law Journal, the lawsuits allege that as many as 325 illnesses, including 57 types of cancer were caused by toxins at the site. The first of the lawsuits is scheduled to go to trial in May. Also, according to a report in The New York Times, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, who is overseeing the litigation, recently said that a detailed settlement plan was drafted, and that “there have been intensive discussions going on looking to settlements of individual cases and globally of all cases.”

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