Health Effects from 9/11: Lessons Learned

Posted on by Max Lum, Ed.D., MPA


Today, as the world remembers the terrorist attacks of 9/11 we must also remember that tens of thousands of responders and survivors of the disaster continue to suffer adverse health effects every day. Multiple types of toxic exposures were encountered by the responders, clean-up personnel and residents of the surrounding community. A new Continuing Medical Education (CME/CE) activity from the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program with the assistance of Medscape-WebMD provides a better understanding of the important lessons learned from the 9/11 disaster (see video announcement from Dr. John Howard below).

It is estimated that over 400,000 people were exposed to toxic contaminants, risks of traumatic injury, and physically and emotionally stressful conditions in the days, weeks and months following the attacks. Symptoms of 9/11 conditions include chronic cough, shortness of breath, sinus congestion, certain cancers, stress related disorders, and depression among the many other symptoms and conditions. Currently, over 72,000 responders and survivors receive care from the WTC Health Program, which was created under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010.

This program, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides monitoring and medical care for specific health conditions that have been determined to be 9/11-related. Healthcare services and monitoring are provided in the New York metropolitan area and throughout the country. In addition, the program is sponsoring research to better understand the health conditions faced by 9/11 responders and survivors.

Healthcare providers affiliated with the program can provide specialized healthcare for 9/11 responders and survivors. The new CME training is a resource for clinicians, students, emergency preparedness personnel as well as those wanting a better understanding of the important lessons learned from the 9/11 disaster. The training is free and includes four educational modules. We encourage you to review these articles even if you do not wish to take them for CME/CE credit.

Access the full CME/CE program @

Note: You will need to create a Medscape account. Creating an account is free of charge.

Max Lum, Ed.D., MPA

Dr. Lum is a Senior Advisor for eCommunication and Research Translation in the NIOSH Office of the Director.


Posted on by Max Lum, Ed.D., MPA

15 comments on “Health Effects from 9/11: Lessons Learned”

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    The sad thing is most of the exposures could have been avoidable if our professiona had any backbone. I consider 9/11 to be the saddest day for our Profession. Thank you EPA Director Whitman and President Bush for the exposure of 1000’s just so Wall Street could re-open. There were many lessons to be learned that were buried from view.

    I have certified issues from working at 9/ll. When so many of us also suffer from PTSD directly connected to the job my question is why isn’t that recognized too.

    Thank you for your comment. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which created the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program covers monitoring and treatment for both physical and mental health conditions, including PTSD.

    If you are not a member of the WTC Health Program and believe you may be eligible, visit our website at or call 1-888-982-4748‎.

    You may be referencing the Victim Compensation Fund coverage, which provides compensation for physical injuries related to September 11th.‎ You can contact the VCF at or 1-855-885-1555.

    Laurie Breyer is the NIOSH World Trade Center Member Services and Communication Development Team, Team Lead.

    i think its cool that they do this because alot of people need this tipe of medical treatment and positivety in ther life after what they saw on 9/11 because it can give them ptsd and other health issus

    About the Terrorist Attacks it says that thousands of responders an survivors of the disaster continued to suffer i feel like that is said an i feel like no one should of been where they were.

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Page last reviewed: March 2, 2017
Page last updated: March 2, 2017