The dangers of asbestos are no longer a secret. Millions of servicemen and women have been exposed to the toxic substance over decades of US Military and commercial history. Yet those who played a part in the September 11 efforts, whether involved in rescue attempts or the clean up afterwards, may have been exposed to an extremely large concentration of toxic dust. Studies done shortly after the attack in 2001 showed that the collapsing of the World Trade Center did not only release asbestos into the air. the force of the explosion may have broken the asbestos fibers into irregularly minuscule pieces, making them difficult for the EPA to detect using average microscopic equipment. Therefore, when the EPA scanned fro dangerous levels of toxicity, their readings may not have been as accurate as they thought. According to experts from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, aerolization is easier if the asbestos particles are smaller. Thus, the fibers make it to the lungs or stomach more easily. According to their statistics, 70% of Ground Zero rescue workers have developed and will still develop alarming respiratory conditions because of exposure to asbestos and other toxic dust particles that clouded over the area.
If asbestos is inhaled or ingested, serious chronic illnesses, like mesothelioma or asbestosis, may ensue. Mesothelioma symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and chest heaviness. Because these symptoms are common to many other illnesses, victims are often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed until the cancer has metastasized. By then, treatment is generally ineffective and life expectancy is short.
Besides mesothelioma, military veterans and rescue workers of Ground Zero are contracting asbestosis. Similar to mesothelioma, asbestosis is a scarring of the tissue of the lungs because of a buildup of asbestos fibers. This scarring prevents normal inhalation and exhalation, which in turn can cripple healthy muscle and brain functions. Unfortunately, rescue workers and military veterans who have experienced deteriorating lung function are showing little to no signs of recovery.
Witnesses claim that the New York City departments responsible for allowing evacuated New Yorkers to return to Manhattan disagreed on the level of health precautions that were necessary after the World Trade Centers collapsed. Manhattan residents were permitted to reenter the city, although the Office of Emergency management and the department of Environmental Protection disagreed on how safe that decision was.
Though the safety of workers and residents is still being disputed, it is important that military veterans and personnel, as well as rescue workers and volunteers, get screened for mesothelioma and asbestosis. Early detection makes treatment more effective and increases the life expectancy of those diagnosed. If asbestosis or mesothelioma symptoms are suspected, requesting a chest x-ray, MRI, CT scan, or PET scan could save the lives of those who risked theirs on September 11, 2001.
Further asbstos regulations needed: http://anthonylemons.blogspot.com/2009/02/further-asbestos-regulations-needed-to.html
Is Groud Zero safe?: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3067591
Mesothelioma Symtoms: http://www.mesotheliomasymptoms.com/
This article was written by Tiffany Best; guest author.