Update on Recent Developments Regarding Cancer and 9/11

There are two recent developments regarding Cancer and 9/11.

Last week there was a change in the rules for certification of Breast Cancer under the World Trade Center Health Program and today there is a newly published study “Cancer Incidence in World Trade Center Rescue and Recovery Workers, 2001-2008”

On April 17th, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published in the Federal Register, a final rule on the certification of Breast Cancer for World Trade Center Responders and Survivors exposed to PCBs.


The change in the certification requirement outlined in last week’s action will modify the requirements for evaluating breast cancer occurring in WTC responders and survivors. Prior to this rule, the program only evaluated whether the participant with breast cancer had done shift or night work or a related sleep disturbance. However, based on a recent review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), that concluded that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) may cause breast cancer in humans the, WTC Program Administrator (Administrator) has determined that since PCBs were present in WTC dust in the New York City disaster area, the Program will now also take possible PCB exposure into account in certifying breast cancer patients.


Today, a new study, by the World Trade Center Health Program Data Center at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, was published in the Journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

This study of 21,000 responders, not including firefighters, found a 15 percent overall increased risk of cancer in the population under review. The incidences of thyroid, prostate and blood, lymph and soft tissue cancers were much higher than what should have been found in that population according to the study. The study was conducted from 2001 to 2008.

This report confirms the findings in two previous studies. A 2011 study of by the New York Fire Department of city firefighters that found a 19 percent increase in cancers among 9/11 responders compared with firefighters who didn’t work at Ground Zero and a study released last year by the New York City Department of Health of 56,000 responders and survivors that found a 14 percent increase in all cancers, and higher rates of multiple myeloma, thyroid and prostate cancers.





Ben Chevat
Executive Director
9/11 Health Watch