Physical and mental health symptoms among NYC transit workers seven and one-half months after the WTC attacks

Authors

  • Loren C. Tapp MD, MS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Medical Officer Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, R-10, Cincinnati, OH 45226.
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  • Sherry Baron MD, MPH,

    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Bruce Bernard MD, MPH,

    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Richard Driscoll PhD, MPH,

    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Charles Mueller MS,

    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Ken Wallingford MS, CIH

    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

  • All work was performed at NIOSH–Cincinnati, OH.

Abstract

Background

On September 11, 2001, 600–800 New York City transit (NYCT) workers were working near the World Trade Center (WTC) Towers. After the disaster, employees reported physical and mental health symptoms related to the event.

Methods

Two hundred sixty-nine NYC transit employees were surveyed for mental and physical health symptoms 7½ months after the WTC disaster.

Results

Workers in the dust cloud at the time of the WTC collapse had significantly higher risk of persistent lower respiratory (OR = 9.85; 95% CI: 2.24, 58.93) and mucous membrane (OR = 4.91; 95% CI: 1.53, 16.22) symptoms, depressive symptoms (OR = 2.48; 95% CI: 1.12, 5.51), and PTSD symptoms (OR = 2.91; 95% CI: 1.003, 8.16) compared to those not exposed to the dust cloud. Additional WTC exposures and potential confounders were also analyzed.

Conclusions

Clinical follow up for physical and psychological health conditions should be provided for public transportation workers in the event of a catastrophic event. Am. J. Ind. Med. 47:475–483, 2005. Published 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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