The New York City Department of Health issued a recent study -- the largest to date -- on the health effects of those exposed to 9/11 debris and found no clear link between cancer and the dust and fumes released by the burning wreckage of the twin towers, reported The New York Times on Tuesday.
The study examined 55,700 passers-by and recovery workers who were present at the World Trade Center site the day of the attack, as well as residents of Lower Manhattan.
After looking at 23 cancers from 2003 to 2008, the study found that the prevalence of three cancers — multiple myeloma, prostate and thyroid — was higher in rescue and recovery workers. However, no significant increase was found in the rest of the exposed population, reported the paper.
In fact, the rate of cancer in the exposed population showed no marked difference compared even to the general population, according to the study.
Still, researchers noted that it was too early to draw any correlation to time spent at ground zero and the rate of cancer with such a small number of cancer cases. In addition, the subjects studied may have been screened more often on average than someone who was not exposed.
One of the implications of these findings is that it may now call into question the President Obama's decision in 2011 to add 50 different types of cancer to the list of illnesses covered by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, as now people with other sicknesses linked more strongly to ground zero are likely to receive less money.
What do you think? Do you believe the findings of this study, or is it still too early to tell (some say we will not know the real effects for decades from now)?
In the meantime, should we place less emphasis on providing health coverage for so many types of cancers until more studies are conducted?
Tell us what you think in the comments.