A study of more than twelve thousand rescue workers from 9-11 show the survivors may face serious lung damage from the dust that blanketed the twin towers after they collapsed.
The study in a Respiratory Journal says all that dust may have caused enough damage to equal twelve years of age-related decline in the lungs of those who were there, particularly rescue workers. Researchers found workers who were present at the time of the collapse were more likely to experience lung problems than those who arrived a few days later.
However, over sixty percent of all rescue workers have reported some kind of respiratory problem. The most common being what is now called "WTC cough," short for the World Trade Center cough. If the lung deterioration continues, workers may be at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
They say some of the damage may have been prevented with proper use of respiratory protection. Firefighters were more likely to experience problems when compared to EMT's.