Scientists at NYU Langone Health report that 16 years after the 9/11 attack, children living in Lower Manhattan who probably breathed in the ash and fumes are showing early signs of risk for future heart disease. The researchers, who analyzed blood tests of 308 children, 123 of whom may have come in direct contact with the dust on 9/11, found that children with higher blood levels of the chemicals known to be in the dust had elevated levels of artery-hardening fats in their blood.
The study appears online today in Environment International.
“Since 9/11, we have focused a lot of attention on the psychological and mental fallout from witnessing the tragedy, but only now are the potential physical consequences of being within the disaster zone itself becoming clear,” says study lead investigator and health epidemiologist Leonardo Trasande, M.D., MPP, an associate professor at NYU School of Medicine. He adds that his team's study is the first to suggest long-term cardiovascular health risks in children from toxic chemical exposure on 9/11.