Health Department Begins New Study of Residents and Area Workers
February 20, 2008
In collaboration with physicians at Bellevue Hospital Center, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently began a new, in-depth respiratory health study to learn more about the different kinds of World Trade Center (WTC)-related exposures that may have affected the health of people who lived or worked in Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and the months that followed. Included as part of Mayor Bloomberg's $100 million initiative to expand New York City's response to 9/11-related illnesses, the study's participants are being recruited from the more than 71,000 individuals enrolled in the federally funded WTC Health Registry. Although this critical research effort is not designed to treat individuals with respiratory or other health problems, treatment is available at the WTC Environmental Health Center.
Enrollees who meet specific study criteria - such as having never smoked tobacco - will be contacted and asked about their personal experiences during and after the WTC collapse. This will be followed by some basic medical tests and a more thorough examination of their lung function. The process requires only an hour of the participants' time but findings from this study will contribute to the understanding of persistent health effects they may be experiencing. The findings also may be useful in preventing similar types of health problems following building demolitions or other large-scale environmental disasters in urban areas.
The study will recruit approximately 900 eligible enrollees from the WTC Health Registry in addition to up to 100 respondents from the Health Department's Community Health Survey, who will serve as a comparison group. Study participants from the WTC Health Registry will include Lower Manhattan residents and area workers. The initial data collection phase of the study should last until mid 2008, while the analysis and sharing of findings will go on for more than two years.
Members of the WTC Health Registry's Community, Labor and Scientific Advisory Boards all made important contributions to the study design.