Monday, August 07, 2006

World Trade Center Ground Zero Workers Need Help

Right after the first responders were shown on television working the rubble pile, we winced because we saw them working without respirators. We knew that all of those Ground Zero workers would end up with breathing problems. Of course, our perception is tempered by the fact that it is really hard, if not impossible, to work hard in a respirator, particularly when it is hot. However, we knew that the dust at and near the site contained every conceivable toxic particle known to man. The WTC site contained atomized concrete, glass fibers, lead dust, asbestos fibers, aluminum, titanium, iron, copper and other toxins. AAEA president Norris McDonald is acutely sensitive to the frustrations of lung dyfunction because he is a chronic asthmatic and has almost died twice from severe asthma episodes.

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is s particularly vicious result of breathing in toxic particles and is showing up among WTC post 911 workers. ILD results when the body fights foreign particles with an immune system reaction that surrounds the particles with cells that eventually irreversibly scar lung tissues and prevent the lungs from extracting oxygen from the air and releasing carbon dioxide from the lungs. Unfortunately, unlike asthma, ILD is not reversible and the patient usually dies from respiratory failure.

The follow-up monitoring system for tracking Ground Zero workers is woefully inadequate. Moreover, federal state and local officials are not doing everything they can to assist these brave first responders and Ground Zero workers now suffering from lung dysfunction. It is a great tragedy for a vigorous person to develop reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS), an irritant-induced asthma. Although RADS is bad, ILD is a death sentence. AAEA will work to assure that Ground Zero workers receive the compensation and treatment they need. (Interstice - a space that intervenes between things) (More info 212-241-3355)

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