New Study Demonstrates Need to Continue Tracking 9/11-Related Health Effects Among Children
June 20, 2008
The June issue of Environmental Health Perspectives includes a new study based on World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry data that provides a broad snapshot of the disaster's physical health effects among children. Researchers found that those under five years old on Sept. 11, 2001, had an increased likelihood of being diagnosed with asthma in the two to three years following the event.
These recent findings emphasize how important it is for parents and guardians of children enrolled in the Registry to complete the follow-up pediatric survey, which will remain open until December 1, 2008. This survey will help assess whether 9/11-related health symptoms have persisted or new conditions have emerged in the seven years since the disaster. For a copy of the survey, call (866) 692-9827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the new study, half of the 3,100 children enrolled in the WTC Health Registry developed at least one new or worsened respiratory symptom, such as a cough, between the collapse of the towers and the time of the 2003-2004 survey. Prior to the 9/11 attacks, asthma rates among child enrollees were on par with national and regional rates, but at the time of the interview, about 6% of enrolled children had received a new asthma diagnosis. Children exposed to the dust cloud following the collapse of the WTC were twice as likely to be diagnosed with asthma as those not caught in the dust cloud, the survey found. In addition, the post-9/11 asthma rate among children under five years old may be as much as twice the rate for the same age group in the Northeastern U.S. Further research is needed to learn whether some of this increase is due to better detection of asthma in kids with WTC exposure or because parents of children with asthma symptoms were more likely to enroll their children in the Registry.
Parents are being asked to complete the follow-up survey even if their child feels fine. The information is important because it is the only ongoing long-term study of children who were affected by the WTC disaster. The experience also can engage adolescent enrollees in the work of the WTC Health Registry, one of the largest in America, which will track the health of 71,000 people, who now reside in all 50 states and 15 countries, for at least twenty years. Completing the survey takes only about 20 minutes and all information provided is kept confidential.
WTC Health Registry enrollees also can update their contact information here. This will ensure that they are notified about important information related to the Registry and future surveys.