Recent findings from two major medical studies published Friday in the medical journal, The Lancet, show no significant increases in deaths or cancer among people exposed to the toxic cloud from the collapsed World Trade Center towers, which contained particles of asbestos, lead, glass and cement.
According to a Washington Post Report, in one study, although more cases of cancer rates than normal were found among nearly 9,000 firefighters who spent time at ground zero, the rates were not significantly higher than might normally be expected in a group of American men of the same age and ethnicity, an increase independent experts said was small enough to be caused by chance.
A second study found that among 42,000 people potentially exposed to trade center dust, there was no significant increase in the number of deaths, when compared to the control group. In fact, researches found, 790 deaths among people in the study group was about 43 percent lower than the mortality rate for New Yorkers in general.
Matt McCauley, an attorney with Parker Waichman Alonso representing 9/11 victims, expressed anger and concern to news the study found no link between the toxins at ground zero and cancer, as it prevents 9/11 survivors with cancer from receiving the benefits of the Zadroga Bill.
For many, the Zadroga Act was the last hope for cancer-stricken Ground Zero first responders who lack adequate health insurance.
However, Dr. Michael Thun, vice president emeritus of epidemiological research for the American Cancer Society, said it isn’t surprising that the study would fail to detect any major trends so soon after the attacks.
Typically, the types of cell mutations caused by toxic and carcinogenic exposures take decades to develop into a diagnosable cancer, he said. Outside of cancers in children, he said, “You can’t really go from the earliest stage to lethal in just a few years.”
But it is possible that a cancer that already existed might have been accelerated by something in the dust, and on that point, “the results are neither conclusively negative, or conclusively positive,” Thun said.