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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2010 Jan;83(1):21-7. doi: 10.1007/s00420-009-0474-x. Epub 2009 Nov 5.

Asthma and lower respiratory symptoms in New York State employees who responded to the World Trade Center disaster.

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  • 1Bureau of Occupational Health, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Flanigan Square, 547 River Street, Troy, NY 12180, USA.



To investigate whether New York State employees who responded to the World Trade Center disaster were more likely to report asthma or lower respiratory symptoms (LRS; cough, wheeze, chest tightness, shortness of breath) than non-exposed employees, 2 years post-September 11.


Participants (578 exposed, 702 non-exposed) completed mailed questionnaires in 2003. A unique exposure assessment method was used; exposure scores were divided at the mean (at/below, above). Poisson regression was used.


Exposure was associated with LRS, but not asthma. Participants with exposure scores at/below the mean had a twofold increased risk of most LRS. Those with scores above the mean had a three to fourfold increased risk. For scores above the mean, the magnitude of effect was consistently higher for smoke exposure.


Moderately exposed responders may experience health impacts from exposures in later stages of a disaster. Exposure to smoke may have had a greater lower respiratory impact than resuspended dust.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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