Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.
Increased rates of asthma among World Trade Center disaster responders†
Article first published online: 8 NOV 2011
Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume 55, Issue 1, pages 44–53, January 2012
How to Cite
Kim, H., Herbert, R., Landrigan, P., Markowitz, S. B., Moline, J. M., Savitz, D. A., Todd, A. C., Udasin, I. G. and Wisnivesky, J. P. (2012), Increased rates of asthma among World Trade Center disaster responders. Am. J. Ind. Med., 55: 44–53. doi: 10.1002/ajim.21025
- Issue published online: 7 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 8 NOV 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 29 SEP 2011
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC/NIOSH). Grant Numbers: 200-2002-0038, U10 OH008232
- Screening Program. Grant Number: C200-2002-00384
- Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan and Staten Island. Grant Number: U10 OH008225
- Clinical Center of the Environmental and Occupational Health Services Institute at UMDNJ. Grant Number: U10 OH008239
- Nassau University Medical Center, State University of New York at Stony Brook/Long Island Occupational and Environmental Health Center, and Hicksville Medical Office. Grant Number: U10 OH008216
- Bellevue/New York University Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic. Grant Number: U10 OH008223
- The Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Queens College in New York. Grant Number: U10 OH008275
- World Trade Center responders;
Studies have documented high rates of asthma symptoms among responders to the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster. However, whether there are increased rates of asthma among responders compared to the general population is unknown.
The study population consisted of a prospective cohort of 20,834 responders participating in the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program between July 2002 and December 2007. We calculated prevalence and standardized morbidity ratios (SMRs) of lifetime asthma and 12-month asthma (defined as ≥1 attacks in the prior 12 months) among WTC responders. The comparison population consisted of >200,000 adults who completed the National Health Interview Survey in 2000 (for pre-9/11 comparisons) and between 2002 and 2007 (for post-9/11 comparisons).
WTC responders were on average 43 ± 9 years old, 86% male, 59% white, and 42% had an occupation in protective services. The lifetime prevalence of asthma in the general population was relatively constant at about 10% from 2000 to 2007. However, among WTC responders, lifetime prevalence increased from 3% in 2000, to 13% in 2002, and 19% in 2007. The age-adjusted overall SMR for lifetime asthma among WTC responders was 1.8 (95% CI: 1.8–1.9) for men and 2.0 (95% CI: 1.9–2.1) for women. Twelve-month asthma was also more frequent among WTC responders compared to the general population (SMR 2.4, 95% CI: 2.2–2.5) for men and 2.2 (95% CI: 2.0–2.5) for women.
WTC responders are at an increased risk of asthma as measured by lifetime prevalence or active disease. Am. J. Ind. Med. 55:44–53, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.