(RxWiki News) At the end of the last year's session, Congress passed a bill to provide health care for 9/11 first responders who suffer from conditions linked only to their work following the terrorist attacks.
A new study by Mount Sinai researchers examines the prevalence one such health problem in World Trade Center (WTC) responders. The findings appear online in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
The researchers studied rates of "sarcoid like" granulomatous pulmonary disease in almost 20,000 WTC responders. They found that the incidence rate of the disease had increased significantly following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In studies conducted before 9/11, New York firefighters showed an average rate of 15 cases per 100,000 annually. Between 2003 and 2004, however, that rate increased to 54 cases per 100,000.
Although not much is known about the disease, "sarcoid like" granulomatous pulmonary disease is associated with exposure to various environmental hazards. It is known to cause inflammation in one or more organs, including the skin, lungs, and lymph nodes.
According to Laura Crowley, M.D., Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the study's lead author, the findings substantiate the hypothesis that "sarcoid like" granulomatous pulmonary disease in 9/11 first responders was likely induced by environmental exposures created from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
Phil Landrigan, M.D., Principal Investigator of the Mount Sinai WTC Program's Data and Coordination Center, Dean of Global Health and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, adds that this study highlights the need for long-term monitoring and treatment of 9/11 responders, not only because we will gain further understanding about a lesser known disease but also because we owe it to those who sacrificed in order to help others.