State Health Department to Study Fatalities of World Trade Center Responders

January 29, 2007 - New York State Health Department today announced an agreement with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to study fatalities among workers who participated in the recovery and cleanup efforts at the World Trade Center site to determine what health issues have been raised in those deaths.

The Department has previously conducted other studies dealing with health issues among workers and responders at the World Trade Center site as the result of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.

As part of the agreement, the Department will be investigating deaths that have occurred among search and rescue workers and volunteers who responded to the WTC disaster site on or after September 11th. Workers have experienced a variety of physical and mental health problems. The full impact of human exposure to environmental contaminants at the WTC disaster site remains unknown. The Department will use the information gained from this study in a long-term effort to better understand the effects on workers' health.

This data collection project will build upon the Department's previous World Trade Center initiatives such as coordinating a medical monitoring program for responding state employees and National Guard personnel; studying asthma and related symptoms in responders who were NYS employees, and examining upper and lower respiratory symptoms among residents.

By collecting information on those who may have prematurely died, health care experts hope to gain a better understanding of how to most effectively treat other responders. In addition, the information will be helpful in improving the medical treatment of individuals who are currently experiencing, or may in the future experience, adverse health effects associated with exposure to debris at the WTC site. Workers at the site were exposed to smoke from fires, cement and concrete dust, metals, asbestos, and other contaminants.

To report the death of a WTC worker or volunteer, please call 1-866-807-2130 in New York or 518-402-7900 for those outside of New York State, or send an email to WTCFatality@health.state.ny.us.

For more information about the Department's response to the World Trade Center, respiratory illnesses, or worker safety please visit: www.health.ny.gov or www.cdc.gov/niosh/.

To report a death that has occurred to any responder, rescue or recovery worker, or volunteer, please contact:

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Occupational Health
547 River Street, Room 230
Troy, New York 12180
1-866-807-2130 (toll-free in NYS) or 518-402-7900