FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG RELEASES SECOND ANNUAL REPORT ON 9/11 HEALTH
World Trade Center Medical Working Group Reviews Scientific Research on 9/11 Health
Report Contains First Ever WTC Patient Population Count
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today released the 2009 Annual Report on 9/11 Health, a review of the latest medical research on potential health impacts of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The report, which includes a review of 48 peer-reviewed studies collected and analyzed by the City’s World Trade Center Medical Working Group, was a recommendation of the 2007 report Addressing the Health Impacts of 9/11. The Medical Working Group, made up of 9/11 health experts from science, medicine and government, is co-chaired by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, MD, MPH.
“We have to stay on top of the latest science to best help those whose health has suffered as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Eight years after the attack we continue to learn more about how people were injured, both physically and emotionally. We will keep taking care of those who have gotten sick and also keep fighting for a sustained stream of federal support for critically important 9/11 health programs.”
“One of the things we heard from first responders, rescue workers, and community members was that there was a need for a single source of reliable information about 9/11 health,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “With the annual report of the Medical Working Group and our 9/11 Health website we have created that single source. This objective review of the latest research keeps community members informed and also helps us target resources and research where they are needed.”
“Since the formation of the WTC Medical Working Group in June 2007, our knowledge of the short-term health effects of 9/11 has come into sharper focus,” said Commissioner Farley. “With this new report, we better understand the longer-term health care needs of exposed individuals, in particular those who have developed chronic conditions that can seriously affect quality of life.”
The report includes, for the first time, a WTC Patient Population Report for Fiscal Year 2009, which ended on June 30. It shows that 15,688 people, including rescue, recovery and clean-up workers, members of the Lower Manhattan community and other WTC-exposed New Yorkers received publicly funded treatment for WTC-related health conditions at the City’s three Centers of Excellence (at the FDNY, the Mount Sinai Consortium and the WTC Environmental Health Center), or through the City’s 9/11 Benefit Program for Mental Health and Substance Use Services.
In addition, 19,760 rescue, recovery and clean-up workers, including FDNY and NYPD personnel, were screened or monitored in Fiscal Year 2009, bringing the total number of WTC responders and workers screened by FDNY and the Mount Sinai Consortium to 42,410.
The report also shows that nearly 20 percent of adults enrolled in the Health Department’s WTC Health Registry continue to report symptoms indicative of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although PTSD symptoms have been resolved for some, one in ten Registry-enrollees reported these symptoms for the first time 5-6 years after 9/11. Rescue and recovery workers and volunteers were more likely to report late-emerging symptoms than other groups who were exposed to the WTC disaster: the prevalence of PTSD symptoms increased from 14 percent in 2003-2004 to 19 percent in 2006-2007.
The report details how many people with 9/11-related PTSD symptoms are not receiving treatment despite the availability of publicly funded services. Nearly 5,000 WTC Health Registry enrollees who reported PTSD symptoms in 2006-2007 also reported that they hadn’t seen a mental health provider in the previous year; approximately half were residents, office workers or persons other than rescue and recovery workers who were in the vicinity of the WTC site on the morning of 9/11. The WTC Environmental Health Center and the WTC Health Registry have begun contacting these individuals directly with federal funding to refer them to appropriate care.
According the WTC Medical Working Group, it is unknown whether there is a relationship between WTC exposure and longer-term illnesses, including cancer, but clinicians, epidemiologists and researchers continue to actively study this.
The City has advocated vigorously for federal funding to monitor and treat people with 9/11-related mental and physical health problems, as recommended in Addressing the Health Impacts of 9/11. The City continues to work with Congress to advocate for the passage of the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would provide a consistent funding stream for 9/11-related treatment and the re-opening of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Jessica Scaperotti (Health)
Download the report (in PDF)