There has been growing concern over the health effects arising from the September 11 attacks in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. Within seconds of the collapse of the World Trade Center, building materials, electronic equipment, and furniture were pulverized and spread over the area.
In the five months following the attacks, dust from the pulverized buildings continued to fill the air of the World Trade Center site. Increasing numbers of New York residents are reporting symptoms of Ground Zero respiratory illnesses.
Various health programs have arisen to deal with the ongoing health effects of the September 11 attacks. The World Trade Center Health Program, which provides testing and treatment to 9/11 responders and survivors, consolidated many of these after the James Zadroga Act became law in January 2011.
Dr. Larry Norton of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital said “Why isn’t the whole nation mobilizing to take care of the chronic health impact of this disaster?”. Dr. Norton cited the 70 percent illness rate among first responders as “a wake up call.” Dr. Nathaniel Hupert of Weill Cornell Medical College, quoted by Jill Gardiner of the October 4, 2006 issue of the New York Sun said that premature deaths and other ailments of dogs in the area are “our canary in the coalmine.” Richard Clapp and David Ozonoff, professors of environmental health at Boston University School of Public Health; Michael Thun, director of epidemiological research at the American Cancer Society; Francine Laden, assistant professor of environmental epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health; Jonathan Samet, chairman of the epidemiology department at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Charles Hesdorffer, associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine argue that the cancer incidence among monitored individuals cannot be called a coincidence. They assert that the Ground Zero cloud was likely the cause of the illnesses. The American College of Preventative Medicine is concerned that malignant mesothelioma will develop among persons exposed to Ground Zero air.