Short-term and medium-term health effects of 9/11

Perlman, Sharon E.; Friedman, Stephen; Galea, Sandro; Nair, Hemanth P.; Erős-Sarnyai, Monika; Stellman, Steven D.; Hon, Jeffrey; Greene, Carolyn M.

The New York City terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001 (9/11), killed nearly 2800 people and thousands more had subsequent health problems. In this Review of health effects in the short and medium terms, strong evidence is provided for associations between experiencing or witnessing events related to 9/11 and post-traumatic stress disorder and respiratory illness, with a correlation between prolonged, intense exposure and increased overall illness and disability. Rescue and recovery workers, especially those who arrived early at the World Trade Center site or worked for longer periods, were more likely to develop respiratory illness than were other exposed groups. Risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder included proximity to the site on 9/11, living or working in lower Manhattan, rescue or recovery work at the World Trade Center site, event-related loss of spouse, and low social support. Investigators note associations between 9/11 exposures and additional disorders, such as depression and substance use; however, for some health problems association with exposures related to 9/11 is unclear.

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July 8, 2014