SAN DIEGO, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Responders to the World Trade Center terrorist attacks in New York have double the rate of asthma compared to the general population, U.S. researchers say.
Eight percent of the workers and volunteers who engaged in rescue and recovery, essential service restoration and cleanup efforts in the wake of the attacks suffer from asthma compared with 4 percent of the general population.
Furthermore, the lifetime prevalence of asthma in World Trade Center responders was marked by a dramatic increase from 3 percent pre-Sept. 11, 2001, to a high of 16 percent in each of the years from 2005-2007.
"Although previous World Trade Center studies have shown significant respiratory problems, this is the first study to directly quantify the magnitude of asthma among World Trade Center responders compared with the general U.S. population," lead author Hyun Kim of Mount Sinai School of Medicine said in a statement.
The study used the health-related data of 20,843 responders who received an initial medical screening examination from July 2002 through December 2007.
In the general population, the prevalence of asthma in the previous 12 months remained relatively constant at slightly less than 4 percent from 2000-2007. In contrast, among World Trade Center responders, while fewer than 1 percent recalled asthma episodes or attacks during the year 2000, the percentage increased to 8 percent, and then remained constant, through the period from 2005-2007.
The findings were presented at the 75th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians.