CANCER MAY BE NEXT WAVE OF WTC ILLS

That is the title of an article on MSNBC. Dr. Robin Herbert is the co-director of a program that monitors the health of ground zero workers. The World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program is based at Mount Sinai Medical Center and monitors people who worked at ground zero for health problems.

Mount Sinai released reports last year that 70% of the workers screened had some sort of respiratory illness. Now they are starting to see another wave of people who are developing multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that usually only appears in later stages of life. More than half of all cases of multiple myeloma occur in adults over 70 and only 1 percent of cases occur in people under the age of 40, according to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

According to the article, the first wave of illnesses was chronic coughing and acute respiratory problems which workers experienced right after their Sept. 11 work. The second wave is more serious chronic lung diseases, such as sarcoidosis.

The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has down played the problem. However, David Worby, an attorney for thousands of workers disagrees, saying “It’s not a threat to the general public, but to people who are already sick and have these blood cell cancers and who gave up their lives…it’s a great threat to them because a lot of them are going to die.”

The World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program will continue to monitor and screen the health of those who worked at the towers or lived there. Other researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Rochester plan to monitor residents’ and workers’ health for 20 years.

frank