Answers to Common WTC Exposure Questions
What are the hazardous toxins that were released into the air following the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers?
The amount of hazardous toxins that were released into the air following the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers on September 11th is unprecedented. Among the most harmful and deadly of these toxins are asbestos, lead, mercury, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated benzenes (PCBs), polychlorinated furans and dioxins, pulverized cement dust, glass fibers, and organochlorine pesticides. Many studies have been conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other private scientific entities, and these studies have verified the existence of these toxins.
If people become exposed to these hazardous toxins, what is the effect that these toxins would have on their health?
Most of the symptoms that the exposed workers and residents have experienced involve the respiratory system. Examples of these symptoms are excessive coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and asthmatic attacks. Doctors have diagnosed many World Trade Center workers and lower Manhattan residents with illnesses that they believe were a result of their exposure to these hazardous toxins. Among theses illnesses are lung disease, bronchitis, and WTC Cough (a cough so severe that it could cause a person to be out of work for many weeks). A recent study by the Mount Sinai Hospital found that 70% of WTC workers that were studied suffered from lung illnesses. In addition to these symptoms and illnesses, WTC workers and lower Manhattan residents must also worry about the risk of future illness. Many of the hazardous toxins that they were exposed to are known and suspected carcinogens (cancer causers).
For more information, please see the Diseases page on this website or contact our office immediately for a free case evaluation.
How many people have been affected so far by their exposure to these hazardous toxins?
A vast amount of people have been injured because of their exposure however, there is no way to know the exact number. The Mount Sinai study was the largest study concerning this exposure and that study looked at the effect of the exposure on over 9,500 people. The study concluded that 7 out of every 10 (70%) persons had a lung illness that was caused by this exposure.
Who are the people who have the highest risk of exposure to the hazardous toxins?
A variety of people are at risk for developing diseases and illnesses due to their exposure to these hazardous toxins. Among these people are firefighters, policemen, and other first responders, people who worked at the World Trade Center site for weeks and months after September 11th, lower Manhattan residents, children in the lower Manhattan area, and women in the lower Manhattan area who were pregnant on and/or after September 11th. The most significant amount of exposure occurred at the World Trade Center site. Scientific studies have found that the highest concentrations of dust were located in the WTC debris. This was five times greater than the concentration of dust around the perimeter of the WTC.
For more information, please see the Exposure page on this website or contact our office for a free case evaluation.
Was there anyway that exposure to these toxins could have been prevented?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have a list of safety guidelines that people, especially employers, are to follow where there is a high risk of human exposure to hazardous substances. These standards are very strict and require that people exposed to these hazardous toxins wear respirators to prevent the toxins from entering their lungs. After September 11th the EPA and OSHA failed to apply or see that employers were applying these stringent standards for the workers at the World Trade Center site, even though they knew that these hazardous substances were circulating in the air at the World Trade Center site. Many of the WTC workers were not provided with safety gear at all. The ones that were provided with safety gear were provided with inadequate safety gear. Had the workers been provided with adequate safety gear, then their exposure to these toxins could have been prevented or limited.
The City of New York, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the owners of the World Trade Center site had access to information that hazardous substances were circulating in the air at the World Trade Center site and over lower Manhattan. These entities had a responsibility to protect the WTC workers and lower Manhattan residents by informing them of these dangers so action could be taken, yet they failed to do so. These entities had a responsibility to provide workers with adequate safety gear, yet they failed to do so. These entities should have provided workers and residences with instructions on how to avoid or limit exposure, yet they failed to do so. Had these entities been more forthright with people, then exposure could have been prevented or significantly limited.
Why weren’t we warned about the danger?
That is a good question. Governmental agencies and officials were aware that these hazardous substances were circulating in the air at the World Trade Center and lower Manhattan, and yet they continued to reassure the public that the air was safe to breathe and the water was safe to drink.
What should I do if I have been injured or a loved one has been injured from exposure to these hazardous substances?
If you have been injured or a loved one has been from this exposure, please contact Douglas & London, P.C., immediately. We can evaluate your World Trade Center Exposure claim, answer your questions, and assist you in protecting your legal rights.