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9/11 responders who arrived early more likely to have lung ailments, study says

Heavy dust at the scene of the World Trade Center collapse in September 2001 have had a lasting...
Heavy dust at the scene of the World Trade Center collapse in September 2001 have had a lasting impact on the health of first responders.(Source: CNN/file)
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 1:39 PM EDT
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(Gray News) - As the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, a new study details the health problems first responders are still dealing with.

The research, which was presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress, compared the timing of each responder’s arrival at the World Trade Center.

Researchers said the rescue crews among the first to appear on scene at the World Trade Center, when dust and smoke were at its worst, are 30% more likely than those who appeared later to have developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

About a quarter of the people diagnosed with COPD were lifetime non-smokers.

The COPD diagnosis often followed an earlier diagnosis of asthma.

Asthma-COPD overlap, a condition with features of both asthma and COPD, was found in about 40% of World Trade Center responders.

The findings were based on 18,000 responders who took at least two tests that measure lung health.

A professor involved with the study said because some health problems develop over years, it’s important to keep a close eye on the first responders.

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. CNN Newsource contributed to this report.