Federal health officials have revealed that many people who escaped from the horrifying attacks on the World Trade Center or 9/11 attacks suffered from respiratory ailments and depression, anxiety and other psychological problems even three years after the event.
Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the people who escaped from the WTC were at risk of development breathing problems of a severe nature. "The trauma of being caught in the cloud itself, the whole experience had an impact on their ... psychological health later on," said Dr. Robert M. Brackbill, a CDC doctor working with the World Trade Center Health Registry. The study, which was released on Friday, monitored 8,418 adults in the registry who had escaped from the twin towers that collapsed on September 11. The registry has been quizzing more than 71,000 people who were in the area on that fateful day. "We are just beginning to learn about the health effects of the worst day in New York City's history," said Daniel Slippen, a survivor of the attacks and a member of the registry's community advisory board. "It is critical to know whether these physical and mental effects will continue, diminish or grow worse over time." Follow-up surveys are to be conducted later this month. Officials have admitted that it will take at least two decades to determine if any survivors die from cancer or related illnesses. The study found that 40 percent of the people trapped in were likely o experience psychological distress and were five times more likely to report a stroke. 56 percent of those surveyed reported worsening respiratory conditions including sinus problems, shortness of breath and a persistent cough. The study added that 11 percent were psychologically traumatized at the time of the interview.