Sept. 11 Firefighters Have Increased Risk Of Cancer Than Their Colleagues

Written by Keith Roberts on Sep. 02, 2011

As we get closer to the tenth anniversary of the tragic events that unfolded on September 11, 2001, a new study shows that the firefighters in New York City that were exposed to hazardous chemicals in the days and weeks that followed were more likely to get cancer than their colleagues that weren’t exposed.

The study was carried out by Dr. David Prezant of Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, who’s the chief medical officer of the Fire Department of the New York City, between Sept. 11, 2001 – Sept. 11, 2008.

9,853 male firefighters that were and weren’t exposed by the potentially hazardous aerosolized dust that consisted of, but not limited to, pulverized cement, glass fibers, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls that were produced as combustion by products of the buildings that collapsed were tested in the study.

The study, which was published in a special Sept. 11 edition of The Lancet, found that those FDNY firefighters that were exposed on that day compared to non-exposed colleagues had a 19% higher risk of cancer than their co-workers.

The study also found that the 8,927 firefighters that were on Ground Zero on Sept. 11 had a 10% increased risk of cancer compared with the general population.

“The events of that day changed the historical trajectory of America and the world. They have had – and continue to have – profound consequences for health,” The Lancet said.

Kenny Specht, a NYC firefighter who spent one-and-a-half months around the remains of the World Trade Center after the events that unfolded on Sept. 11 looking for colleagues, believes that the thyroid cancer he was diagnosed with six years later was a result of his time at the WTC. In an interview with an NBC affiliate in New York, he said that these were the results of the study that he was told “didn’t exist.”