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Archive for August 10th, 2009|Daily archive page

Immune System Cancer Found in Some 9/11 WTC Rescue Crew Members

In Health Issues on August 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm

A possible, but unverified link between immune system cancer and the clean-up of WTC after 9/11:

Researchers say a small number of young law enforcement officers who participated in the World Trade Center rescue and cleanup operation have developed an immune system cancer. The numbers are tiny, and experts don’t know whether there is any link between the illnesses and toxins released during the disaster.But doctors who coordinated the study, published Monday in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, said people who worked at the site should continue to have their health monitored. “What we are trying to get out there is: Be alert,” said Dr. Jacqueline M. Moline, director of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The researchers looked at 28,252 emergency responders who spent time amid ground zero dust and found eight cases of multiple myeloma.  Those findings were no surprise. Multiple myeloma is the second most common hematological cancer in the U.S. after non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Normally, researchers would expect to find about seven cases in a group as large as the one examined in the study.

However, four of the people who fell ill were under age 45, and multiple myeloma is thought to be more rare among people of that age. Under normal circumstances, researchers would have expected to find only one case of the disease in that age group.  Those four young multiple myeloma patients included one officer who was caught in the dust cloud on 9/11 and then spent months working long hours at the site. Another spent 111 days at the Staten Island landfill where the rubble was sifted. Two others had less exposure, working 12 and 14 days each in the pit and rubble pile.

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