Friday, June 1, 2007 - New Study Links Blood Cancer To Ground Zero Toxins - New Study Links Blood Cancer To Ground Zero Toxins: "

New Study Links Blood Cancer To Ground Zero Toxins

Mt. Sinai: 'Third Wave' Of 9/11 Illnesses Appear


Marcia Kramer

(CBS) NEW YORK A new study has emerged that raises serious concerns about 9/11-related illnesses. For years, scientists reported that it was too soon to link cancers to the toxins that workers were exposed to at Ground Zero after 9/11. But new research is finding a link between Ground Zero toxins and certain types of cancers.

They've already suffered from the World Trade Center cough and from chronic lung diseases. Now doctors say 9/11 responders could face debilitating blood cancers from breathing the toxic air.

The scary reality hit retired firefighter Lee Ielpi hard when he was told he had a rare blood cancer. "I didn't have any words, I was speechless," said Ielpi, who spent nine painstaking months at Ground Zero as he searched for the remains of his son Jonathan, also a firefighter. "My mind -- it ran the gamut of fear, anxiety, my family."

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The first wave of illnesses was considered to be that stubborn, dry "World Trade Center cough," which was first noticed in the months following the attacks. The cough was likely caused by workers inhaling pulverized cement in the air while working downtown.

The second wave largely involves chronic respiratory diseases that cause lung inflammation and scarring.

The cancers are being called the �third wave� of sickness.

Ironically, the latest findings could be welcome news for some Ground Zero workers. These newly released findings could help the case for a lawyer representing more than 100 workers, who claim they got cancer by working at Ground Zero.

�It shows the peeling away of denial -- first the air was safe, then it wasn't. They lied about it,� said attorney David Worby, who represents 105 people who responded to the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero, and got cancer.

Worby is not surprised by the latest medical findings that establish a link between breathing the mix of toxic chemicals at Ground Zero and getting blood cancers.

He just wonders what took doctors so long.

�The final layer to be peeled away is the fact that hundreds of people who spent thousand of hours at Ground Zero have cancer -- and many more will get it,� he said.

More than 100 of Worby's clients in a class action suit against the city have developed blood cancers.

One of them is only 30 years old. Most range in age from 35 to 40.

The new research linking blood cancers to Ground Zero was published in Thursday�s New England Journal of Medicine, based on studies done by the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program at Mount Sinai, which has been studying 20,000 responders.

The concern is that those who worked at Ground Zero will be diagnosed with blood and lymphatic cancers because of their exposure to the air at "The Pit," which exposed them to asbestos, dioxine, benezine, and other carcinogens.

Dr. Robin Herbert, the co-director of Mount Sinai's World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program, described the latest findings in an online audio interview.

"We know we have a handful of cases of multiple myeloma in very young individuals. And multiple myelomas usually present later in life. And that's the odd, unusual and troubling finding we're seeing already," Herbert said.

More than 20,000 responders to the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks have been examined by doctors at Mount Sinai's World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program

Although some people already have cancer, what Herbert is worried about is the possibility of others developing cancer down the road. "

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