World Trade Center Health RegistryPosted on by
When buildings collapsed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 in New York, our nation and the world at large were devastated. Nearly 2,800 people died, including 343 firefighters, 23 police officers, 37 Port Authority police officers, and more than 2,200 civilians.
Along with the death and devastation immediately wrought by the attacks, there was concern from the outset that the collapse of the Twin Towers could have consequences for the health of
- clean-up workers,
- office workers,
- school children, and
- others in the area.
By the evening of September 11, New York City’s Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYDHMH) and Environmental Protection began to assess environmental conditions and what protections would be necessary.
While no one knows the full scope of 9/11-related health problems, a growing body of evidence suggests that health conditions have emerged that are associated with the disaster. In particular, health conditions have emerged for those
- who were exposed during the collapse of the towers,
- who participated substantially in rescue, recovery, and clean-up operations, and
- who lived and worked in close proximity to the sites and had potential ongoing exposures.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the New York City Health Department (NYCHD) established the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry in 2002, with the goal of monitoring the health of people directly exposed to the WTC disaster. Registries allow health professionals to track and investigate illness and recovery related to disasters. They also help create guidelines that can save lives and reduce injuries in future disasters. Today, the Registry is an ongoing collaboration with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. ATSDR and NYCHD developed this Registry to provide the latest scientific information to the public about 9/11-related health problems. ATSDR and NYCDHMH also developed the registry to serve as a resource for people affected by the disaster.
Enrollment in the WTC Health Registry was voluntary for people who lived, worked or went to school in the area of the WTC disaster, or were involved in rescue and recovery efforts. To enroll, people completed a confidential baseline health survey in 2003 or 2004. Enrollees answered a series of questions about where they were on 9/11, their experiences, and their health. This initial data allowed health professionals to compare the health of those directly exposed to the WTC disaster to the health of the general population. No blood tests or medical exams were required to enroll. The Registry’s second follow-up survey for adults and children is currently underway. The results of these surveys will help determine to what extent physical and mental health conditions have persisted. The Registry survey results will also help determine whether any new symptoms and conditions have emerged. Moreover, they will identify and help address gaps in physical and mental health treatment.
Registry findings (not data) will be shared with the following groups:
- enrollees and the public to help those affected by the attacks make informed decisions about their health,
- health professionals who are conducting studies about people affected by 9/11, and
- doctors and other medical providers who may treat people affected by 9/11.