Mortality among World Trade Centre rescue and recovery workers, 2002-2011

Rescue and recovery workers responding to the 2001 collapse of the World Trade Centre (WTC) sustained exposures to toxic chemicals and have elevated rates of multiple morbidities. Using data from the World Trade Centre Health Program and the National Death Index for 2002-2011, the authors examined standardised mortality ratios (SMR) and proportional cancer mortality ratios (PCMR) with indirect standardisation for age, sex, race, and calendar year to the U.S. general population, as well as associations between WTC-related environmental exposures and all-cause mortality. 330 deaths were identified among 28,918 responders (SMR 0.43, 95%CI 0.39-0.48). No cause-specific SMRs were meaningfully elevated. PCMRs were elevated for neoplasms of lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue (PCMR 1.76, 95%CI 1.06-2.75). Mortality hazard ratios showed no linear trend with exposure. Consistent with a healthy worker effect, all-cause mortality among responders was not elevated. There was no clear association between intensity and duration of exposure and mortality. Surveillance is needed to monitor the proportionally higher cancer mortality attributed to lymphatic/hematopoietic neoplasms.

Authors: Stein CR, Wallenstein S, Shapiro M, Hashim D, Moline JM, Udasin I, Crane MA, Luft BJ, Lucchini RG, Holden WL. ;Full Source: American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2016 Feb;59(2):87-95. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22558. Epub 2016 Jan 4. ;