May 20, 2010
(HealthDay News) — Exposure to a dangerous cocktail of smoke, dust, fumes and gases among those involved in clean-up, rescue, recovery and demolition at the World Trade Center ultimately compromised the workers’ sense of smell, new research reveals.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Such individuals specifically experienced a diminished ability to detect odors and irritants, researchers at the nonprofit Monell Center in Philadelphia and their collaborators found.
“The nose performs many sensory functions that are critical for human health and safety,” Monell environmental psychologist and lead author Pamela Dalton said in a news release. “The sensory system that detects irritants is the first line of defense to protect the lungs against airborne toxic chemicals. The loss of the ability of the nose to respond to a strong irritant means that the reflexes that protect the lungs from toxic exposures will not be triggered.”
The study, reported in the May 18 online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, was funded by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
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