Headaches may linger for 9/11 workers exposed to dust, fumes
Workers who were exposed to dust and fumes caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center frequently reported headaches years after 9/11, according to a report.
The study, which will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in April, involved 765 people who were enrolled in the Bellevue Hospital World Trade Center Environmental Health Center seven years after the building collapse and who did not have headaches prior to 9/11. Of those, about 55 percent reported having exposure to the initial World Trade Center dust cloud.
Headaches in the four weeks prior to enrollment were reported by 43 percent of those surveyed, suggesting that headaches are a common and persistent symptom in those exposed to World Trade Center dust and fumes. Researchers found that individuals caught in the initial dust cloud were slightly more likely to report headaches, which may indicate that greater exposure may be associated with a greater risk of developing persistent headache. Workers with headaches were also more likely to experience wheezing, breathlessness with exercise, nasal drip or sinus congestion, and reflux disease after 9/11.
"More research needs to be done on the possible longer term effects of exposure to gasses and dust when the World Trade Center fell," said Sara Crystal, lead author of the study from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City. "We also need additional studies to understand the relationship between headaches, other physical symptoms, and mental health issues."
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March 8, 2010
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