Specialists study Sept. 11, 2001, toxics

Sept. 12, 2011 at 10:57 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Occupational and environmental medicine specialists say they have been evaluating and responding to toxic exposures from the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The September Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine includes a collection of papers reflecting research and commentary on the immediate and long-term impact of the disaster.

One paper reports on unique features of sleep apnea among World Trade Center responders. New York City firefighters and first responders have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea that appear related to stomach acid reflux -- gastroesophageal reflux disease -- rather than to obesity, as in the general population, the editors say.

Another study finds an increased rate among rescue workers and others exposed to the WTC site of sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease involving the lung. Sarcoidosis risk appears much higher for responders who worked on the debris pile, the paper says.

"While we cannot reverse the tragic events of that morning in 2001," Dr. Marc Wilkenfeld, of Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, N.Y., says, "we can learn from the events and increase our skills to provide needed expertise to our nation and our patients."

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