World Trade Center workers face higher risk of autoimmune diseases, study finds

Mark Johnson Journal Sentinel

More than a decade after the 9/11 terror attacks, new information continues to emerge on the health risks faced by the men and women who worked at the site of the World Trade Center.

A new report in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology finds a strong link between long-term work at the site of the collapsed twin towers and the development of various autoimmune diseases, including arthritis and lupus.

The study reports that the risk of developing an autoimmune disease over the next decade rose about 13% for every month a person worked at the site. Researchers estimated that people who worked 10 months at the site were more than three times as likely to develop an autoimmune disease as people who worked there for only one month.

“It is our hope that increased awareness of this association can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment,” said the study’s lead author, Mayris Webber,  a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

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