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Health problems hit WTC crews

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NEW YORK, Sep 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Workers involved in the cleanup of the World Trade Center disaster in New York show high rates of respiratory and psychological problems, researchers said.

The findings indicate members of disaster response teams should receive comprehensive medical monitoring and access to treatment programs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in Friday's edition of the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the study, which was funded by the CDC and conducted by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, researchers monitored rescue and recovery workers, including police, construction and utility crews involved in the cleanup of the rubble left after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

Approximately 60 percent of study participants developed new lower respiratory symptoms or had existing conditions worsen. About 74 percent experienced new or worsening upper respiratory problems. A high rate of musculoskeletal symptoms also was reported.

More than half of the workers -- 51 percent -- met the criteria for referral to a mental health professional. Only 3 percent reported using mental health services before participating in the study.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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