9/11 Asbestos: The Mesothelioma Concern
September 11th, 2001- What Happened?
Nearly all Americans remember where they were when they heard that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Towers. Many had tuned in to see what happened just in time to see the second plane crash into the second tower and all watched in horror as the buildings burned, shuddered and then crumpled. Media and private individuals captured horrific images of people jumping from the buildings to avoid the flames. Cameras caught emergency personnel running toward the disaster and into the buildings when the collapse came. When the massive towers came down, huge clouds of dust, fumes and toxic particles billowed out and blanketed the majority of lower Manhattan. It was quickly determined that terrorists had taken control of commercial aircraft and had deliberately crashed them into the World Trade Center towers and Pentagon, while missing another unknown target when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania. The events of September 11th shook Americans to the core. The aftermath continues to affect the daily lives of Americans even today.
A Series of Events - A timeline of the events that transpired on September 11th.
What Happened- The Pentagon’s official site discusses the events of the day of the attack.
Government Report - This poignant memorial site also contains a link to the government’s final report on the events leading up to, and including, the day of the attack.
Reactions- Read through the Library of Congress’ archive of web messages that occurring on the day of and the months following the 9/11 attacks.
Should We Have Known?- This memorial tribute to those who lost their lives in the towers includes history of events leading up to the tragedy.
Asbestos in the WTC
Those emergency workers that rushed towards the danger were rushing towards more than a building in flames. When the towers collapsed, the resulting cloud of dust particles and fumes enveloped and covered everything and everyone for blocks around. As the dust settled, firemen, policemen and medical personnel continued their rescue efforts. Even as days, weeks and months passed by, the effort to retrieve missing persons continued. The repercussions from inhaling the asbestos-contaminated dust began immediately, but the long term effects are still being determined nine years later. Building materials that contain the minute minerals that are known carcinogens were reduced to powder in the collapse, blanketing lower Manhattan and permeating everything in a several block radius around Ground Zero. Breathing in this asbestos dust caused those who were already prone to respiratory distress to begin exhibiting symptoms immediately, while others began developing symptoms weeks, months, and even years afterwards.
Touching the Sky - Learn about the building project from the ground up and realize just how massive these structures were.
If We Knew Then- Well written article highlights the efforts made to discontinue the use of asbestos even as the towers were being built. It also contains some startling numbers of the amount of materials used.
Original Controversy - Complete history of the Trade Center Complex, the builders, materials and the original controversy surrounding the building of the two 110 story towers. You will also find a very accurate timeline of events that have transpired on the site before and since the attack.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in a wide variety of applications because of its physical properties. It was used in many building materials and is especially utilized as an insulator due to its fireproof nature. The thin fibers can cause serious damage when inhaled and are a known cause of malignant lung cancers, mesothelioma and chronic respiratory disease like asbestosis. Although asbestos is naturally present in the atmosphere, long term exposure greatly increases the risks associated with it. Because of its tensile strength, insulation qualities and widespread availability, contractors began utilizing it in a variety of ways in the 19th century. The fibrous nature made it a natural additive to cement, which made the cement stronger. It was used as insulation and as covering for wiring in electrical applications. When the destructive nature of the mineral became known, asbestos was banned. However, existing structures that contain asbestos, still present a hazard. Standards concerning the safe removal and disposal of asbestos have been developed but the collapse of the twin towers unleashed a toxic layer of dust containing asbestos particles.
Its Everywhere - Who should you contact in case you suspect asbestos in your home? Learn what government standards are in place to protect your homes, workplaces and environment and training standards on handling asbestos problems.
What Is Asbestos - Site provides a basic understanding of asbestos and what exposure to it can cause.
Hazard Protection- Protect yourself and your loved ones by knowing what to ask and how to prevent overexposure to asbestos in the workplace.
Helpful Agencies - If you suspect you are being exposed to hazardous asbestos, contact any of these agencies to investigate the problem.
Your Environment Matters - Make yourself aware of where asbestos can be found and what to do to protect yourself from over exposing you and your family.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the protective lining of internal organs. The most common area of occurrence is in the protective membrane which surrounds, but it can also form in the lining of the abdominal cavity, heart, and metastasize throughout the body. It most commonly occurs in people who have been exposed to asbestos in industrial settings. Symptoms include difficulty breathing because of fluid build-up in the lungs, chest pain, and a noticeable failure to thrive resulting in weight loss. Tests such as CT scans can help identify the cancer and traditional cancer treatments are used to manage the disease, but the cancer is aggressive and prognosis is generally poor.
The Facts- This page contains very accurate non-biased descriptions of mesothelium, asbestos and clinical references to causes and effect of mesothelioma on patients.
Statistics on Occurrence - Explore the four types of mesothelioma and read statistics on who is getting the disease.
Health Effects Years After 9/11
The long term effects of exposure to asbestos at Ground Zero are still being studied. Preexisting respiratory illnesses and the smoking could cause exposure to become more dangerous than in otherwise healthy persons. However, incidences of mesothelioma in persons directly impacted by the clouds from the tower are in higher concentrations than those of the general population with the exception of mining communities. Pregnant women that were exposed to the fallout have given birth to babies with higher incidences of respiratory distress. Information continues to be collected on patients believing their illness to be connected to the collapse and subsequent cleanup of the site.
We Count - consortium of concerned agencies put together a community health survey and continues to document the effects of 9/11.
New Yorkers Unite - Site features a report on the long term health concerns of the 9-11 workers and expresses anger over the government’s slow-moving response.
Government Study - Read this article discussing the effect of exposure to 9/11 debris and dust to pregnant women and children born since then.
Industry Research - Technical research results on the aftermath of the Sept. 11th WTC disaster with an emphasis on tests performed to see how big of a radius was affected.
Who To Call- suspect you are being exposed to hazardous asbestos, contact any of these agencies to investigate the problem.
Current Problems - 2010 Annual Report on the continuing effects the 9/11 disaster is having on those exposed to it.Support Groups
Teaching Empathy - This support network features a downloadable teaching module to educate others about what 9-11 victims and their families are enduring.
Legislative Support - Legislation to provide for ongoing health of persons exposed to health risks during and after the 9/11 tragedy struggling to get passed but legislators continue to champion for their constituents.
Neighborhood Watch - A New York City based site that offers a multitude of resources, background data and current updates on persons wondering if their health was impacted by 9/11.
United in Sorrow - This Living Memorial site encourages anyone affected by 9/11 to utilize the variety of resources available on their page or to at least contact them and tell your story so it can be added to the memorial.
Family Reunion - Over 200 families of 9/11 victims have formed a support group and are working towards understanding between the Islamic community and current efforts to memorialize the event.
September 11th Memorials
Names of the Fallen - This appropriately somber memorial site lists victims of each airplane and in the buildings with additional information available if needed.
The Cost of Responding - This page showcases a stirring memorial to the many emergency personnel that lost their lives trying to save others.
Military Memorial - View the Pentagon’s Memorial created in remembrance of 9/11.
Everybody Hurts - Showing how the tragedy reverberated throughout the nation, view Anthony, Kansas 9-11 Memorial Tribute.
A Nation Remembers - Progress on the National Memorial can be viewed on this site.