David Chmiel
December 20, 2012

A New York City health department study released Tuesday finds that the dust, debris and fumes from the post-9/11 Twin Towers wreckage posed no direct cause for cancer. The report, to be published today in the Journal of American Medicine, contradicts a ruling by the federal government six months ago that added 50 types of cancer to the list of illnesses covered by the $4.3 billion World Trade Center fund.

The data from the new study was gathered after 55,700 people, including rescue and recovery workers at the World Trade Center site, on barges or at the Staten Island landfill, as well as residents of Lower Manhattan, students, workers and passers-by exposed to the rubble on September 11, 2001. The study, conducted on 23 types of cancer between 2003 and 2008, found no jump in cancer rates for those people compared to other residents. The three cancers — multiple myeloma, prostate and thyroid — were found to be significantly higher in rescue and recovery workers, but researchers said they can’t make the connection because the first-responders were getting checked more frequently than the general population and it could just be a result of that vigilance. Surprisingly, the study found that people who were exposed to heavier levels of the toxic substances were no more likely to get sick than residents who weren’t.

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