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Sunday, September 12, 2021

20 Year Anniversary of 9/11, 10-Year Anniversary of the World Trade Center Health Program. Lesson Learned?

On September 11, 2001, Future Environment Designs (FEDTC) was teaching an asbestos supervisor refresher and an asbestos inspector initial course at the Underhill Blvd. Syosset office.  We were some of the fortunate individuals who were not in New York City when terrorists hijacked airplanes and proceeded to fly them into the World Trade Centers (WTC), the Pentagon, and crashed another in Pennsylvania.  On that day hundreds of thousands of people were exposed to a massive cloud of toxic gases and particulates from the terrorist attack on the WTC.  Significant failings by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) led to tens of thousands of people who participated in the ensuing rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts being exposed to the WTC toxic dust.  Nearly a half million people are estimated to be at increased risk of adverse health effects from exposures to physical, psychological, and emotional stressors in the days, weeks, and months following the terrorist attacks.  This year we honor their sacrifice on the 20th Anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center.  On January 2, 2011, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2012 (the Zadroga Act) created the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).  The WTCHP is administered by the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  So this year is also the 10th Anniversary of the WTCHP.  

We have no intention of changing our logo which depicts the NYC skyline with the WTC.

The WTCHP provides medical monitoring and treatment of covered health conditions for emergency responders, survivors, recovery and cleanup workers, and volunteers who helped at the WTC, the Pentagon, and the crash site near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and maintains a research program aimed to improve the care and well-being of the affected population.  The WTCHP serves four groups of people affected by the 9/11 attacks:

  • Fire Department of New York Responders,
  • World Trade Center General Responders,
  • World Trade Center Survivors (lived, worked, or went to school in NYC Disaster Area), and
  • Pentagon/Shanksville Responders

From Express - 9/11 firefighters still Dying 20 years on - Devastating graph exposes the harrowing impact

As of December 31, 2020, 108,666 individuals have enrolled in WTCHP.  The ten most common certified conditions are:

  • Chronic Rhinosinusitis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Cancers
  • Asthma
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic Respiratory Disorder - Fumes/Vapors
  • WTC-Exacerbated Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Anxiety Disorder (Not otherwise specified)
  • Major Depressive Disorder

As the years go by, it will be interesting to see if this list changes.  In FEDTC's asbestos training courses, we discuss the latency period for asbestos-related diseases (asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma) are 10-50 years from the date of the first exposure.  In the next 5-10 years we will hit the beginning of the latency period for lung cancer and mesothelioma.  Currently, cancers only account for about 13% of WTCHP certified conditions with non-melanoma skin cancer (27%) and prostate cancer (21%) being the top two cancers.  Comparison studies indicate that prostate and thyroid cancer are elevated compared to other groups (without WTC toxic dust exposure). Other excess cancers at this time include bladder cancer, malignant melanoma, multiple myeloma, leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

It was published after the completion of the rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts that there were no fatalities.  However, that isn't quite correct since we are seeing rescue, recovery, and clean-up workers dying from their exposure to the WTC toxic dust.  It is good to see that what occurred during the rescue, recovery, and clean-up at the WTC was not repeated at the recent rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts at the Miami condo collapse.  As the picture below, from The Guardian, shows, rescue crews are wearing respirators to protect them from the potentially toxic dust from the collapse of that building.  If this is the lesson learned from the WTC tragedy, it was a hard lesson but one that will protect workers in other rescues, recoveries, and clean-ups in the future.  

The Guardian
Miami condo collapse: death toll rises to nine as crews search pile for survivors | Miami condo collapse | The Guardian

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Future Environment Designs Wishes You a Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Future Environment Designs (FEDTC) wishes everyone a Happy Labor Day weekend!  In a year that seems to continue to challenge all of us, it is worthwhile to remember that this weekend and Monday in particular we are celebrating the contributions of the labor movement to the development and achievements of the United States of America (USA).  

Labor Movement in the 21st Century

The labor movement is a major part of American history that describes the history of organized labor, USA labor law, and the more general history of working people.  According to Wikipedia, "the nature and power of organized labor are the outcomes of historical tensions among counter-acting forces involving workplace rights, wages, working hours, political expression, labor laws, and other working conditions."  As commentator E. J. Dionne has noted, the union movement has traditionally espoused a set of values - solidarity being the most important, the sense that each should look out for the interests of all.

The Fire that Sparked the Labor Movement

Future Environment Designs hopes as we enjoy this weekend, we remember the importance of the labor movement and even more importantly we remember solidarity, the sense that each of us should look out for the interests of all!

Chrysotile Asbestos Banned? More Like Certain Conditions of Use Will Be Eventually Banned!

Many of you, as did I, read about the " Ban of Chrysotile Asbestos " and rejoiced over something long overdue.  However, after rea...