Journal Article

Upper Respiratory Symptoms and Other Health Effects among Residents Living Near the World Trade Center Site after September 11, 2001

Shao Lin, Joan Reibman, James A. Bowers, Syni-An Hwang, Anne Hoerning, Marta I. Gomez and Edward F. Fitzgerald

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 162, issue 6, pages 499-507
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwi233
Upper Respiratory Symptoms and Other Health Effects among Residents Living Near the World Trade Center Site after September 11, 2001

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The authors investigated changes in respiratory health after September 11, 2001 (“9/11”) among residents of the area near the World Trade Center (WTC) site in New York City as compared with residents of a control area. In 2002, self-administered questionnaires requesting information on the presence and persistence of respiratory symptoms, unplanned medical visits, and medication use were sent to 9,200 households (22.3% responded) within 1.5 km of the WTC site (affected area) and approximately 1,000 residences (23.3% responded) in Upper Manhattan, more than 9 km from the site (control area). Residents of the affected area reported higher rates of new-onset upper respiratory symptoms after 9/11 (cumulative incidence ratio = 2.22, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.88, 2.63). Most of these symptoms persisted 1 year after 9/11 in the affected area. Previously healthy residents of the affected area had more respiratory-related unplanned medical visits (prevalence ratio = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.13, 2.64) and more new medication use (prevalence ratio = 2.89, 95% CI: 1.75, 4.76) after 9/11. Greater impacts on respiratory functional limitations were also found in the affected area. Although bias may have contributed to these increases, other analyses of WTC-related pollutants support their biologic plausibility. Further analyses are needed to examine whether these increases were related to environmental exposures and to monitor long-term health effects.

Keywords: asthma; environmental pollution; New York City; respiratory tract diseases; terrorism; CI, confidence interval; CIR, cumulative incidence ratio; WTC, World Trade Center

Journal Article.  5415 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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