THURSDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- No long-term decrease in
lung function has been seen in 95 percent of the officers from the
New York Police Department's Emergency Services Unit who responded
to the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, according
to a new study.
Researchers analyzed the findings of annual lung function tests
from 206 officers who responded to the attack and found that most
had no change in lung function beyond expected age-related
About 5 percent of the officers did have declines consistent
with mild lung dysfunction, the researchers reported. Those most
likely to have decreased lung function included officers with
respiratory symptoms, those who were present when the towers
collapsed and those who worked long hours at the World Trade Center
The greatest declines in lung function were seen in smokers and
in the small number of officers who did not wear respiratory
protective devices while working at the site.
Overall, the findings provide "encouraging expectations" that
most police officers who were at the World Trade Center site won't
develop long-term declines in lung function, the research team --
led by Dr. Eli J. Kleinman, supervising chief surgeon of the NYPD
-- said in a news release from the American College of Occupational
and Environmental Medicine. They plan to continue following the
A report on their findings was published in the June issue of
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
In terms of disaster planning, the researchers noted, the
results of the study support greater use of personal protective
gear and a limit on time spent at hazardous sites.
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