Cancer Not Increased by Exposure to World Trade Center 9/11 Attack Debris

The New York Times is reporting a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that looks at the cancer incidence rate among more than 55,000 people exposed to the dust and debris produced by the fall of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Earlier this year, advocates persuaded Congress to add 50 different cancers to the list of ailments for which they can receive compensation from a fund set up the federal government. The new study looks at the incidence of 23 different cancers. The Times summarizes:

Six months after the federal government added cancer to the list of sicknesses covered by the $4.3 billion World Trade Center fund, a New York City health department study has found no clear link between cancer and the dust, debris and fumes released by the burning wreckage of the twin towers.

The study was by far the largest to date. It examined 55,700 people, including rescue and recovery workers who were present at the World Trade Center site, on barges or at the Staten Island landfill where debris was taken in the nine months after Sept. 11, 2001, as well as residents of Lower Manhattan, students, workers and passers-by exposed on the day of the terrorist attacks.

Over all, there was no increase in the cancer rate of those studied compared with the rate of the general population, researchers concluded after looking at 23 cancers from 2003 to 2008. The prevalence of three cancers — multiple myeloma, prostate and thyroid — was significantly higher, but only in rescue and recovery workers and not in the rest of the exposed population. But since the number of actual cases was small and the subjects of the study may have been screened more frequently for cancer than other people on average, the researchers noted that it was too early to draw any correlation to time spent at ground zero.

In one of many counterintuitive findings, the incidence of cancer was not higher among those who were exposed more intensely to the toxic substances than among those who were exposed less.

The lack of clear evidence of a link between cancer and the debris from Sept. 11 casts into doubt the decision by the federal government in June to add 50 different types of cancer to the list of illnesses covered by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, signed by President Obama in early 2011.

The report is actually quite good news since it suggests that people who were exposed to debris from the World Trade Center's collapse are no more likely to come down the cancer than are the rest of us. Of course, if one happens to be male the lifetime risk of cancer is 1 in 2, and if female, it's 1 in 3. It also good to keep in mind that the American Cancer Society estimates:

Exposure to carcinogenic agents in occupational, community, and other settings is thought to account for a relatively small percentage of cancer deaths – about 4% from occupational exposures and 2% from environmental pollutants (man-made and naturally occurring).

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  • WTF||

    It doesn't matter. What's important is that idiot politicians look 'compassionate' toward our 'heros' with other people's money.

  • ||

    I was there. So I was exposed. Where's my fucking money?!? Oh that's right, I'm not a parasite.

  • WTF||

    I'm not a parasite.

    Too bad you have principles, otherwise you could sign up to ass-rape the taxpayers for your cut of the billions of dollars the feds are handing out.

  • ||

    I really need to jettison my principles.

  • fried wylie||

    BUT, BUT, BUT, SECOND HAND SMOKE!!111oneoneoneone

  • Bam!||

    tl;dr

    Technically, wouldn't it be, there has been no link established between 9/11 dust and cancer yet? 'cause cancer can take awhile to appear, right?

  • ||

    It's been over 10 years. I imagine some difference would show up by now. Cancer CAN take awhile to appear, but it can also appear pretty quickly. It's not like Huntington's Disease.

  • ||

    Hormetic, biatches.

  • DJF||

    What I never understood is that even days later few people were wearing even dust masks. Even if you are working on remodeling your house they recommend those, yet I saw picture after picture with people working around dust and not wearing any protection. I guess the government did not tell them to wear them so the didn’t.

  • fried wylie||

    Fucking Morons, how do they work?

    (Answer: without wearing dust masks)

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I heard a hypothesis once that daily showers can be linked to lung cancer. It is supposedly due to the chlorine in municipal water supply being atomized and inhaled while taking a hot shower. If true that will suck, one of the only parts of the morning I care about, the other is bacon and coffee.

  • fried wylie||

    Jesus, showering, bacon, AND coffee? You probably bring a cig and a cellphone into the shower too.

  • ||

    He showers with Jesus and bacon? Not a kosher shower for the King of the Jews, eh?

  • Ted S.||

    WHY DOES RONALD BAILEY HATE OUR HEROIC FIRST RESPONDERS???????????????

  • Skip||

    This is the thing that Jon Stewart was bellyaching about a couple years ago about how they deserve this money even if cancer wasn't related to 9/11.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    "Of course, if one happens to be male the lifetime risk of cancer is 1 in 2,"-RB

    wth?! that seems really high, i thought it was like 1/10 at best. i hope you are making fun of some false report, and im just missing it.

    "Exposure to carcinogenic agents in occupational, community, and other settings is thought to account for a relatively small percentage of cancer deaths – about 4% from occupational exposures and 2% from environmental pollutants (man-made and naturally occurring)." -RB

    yes real comforting that when im in horrible pain and about to die that it wasnt caused by our corporate and government overlords.


    bur really 1 in 2? what was it 30 years ago, i remember you linking an article you wrote in 2001 saying rates of cancer havent gone up. that, if true, is the kind of articles i want to read lol

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