Monday, September 12, 2011

Toxic Dust

Yesterday I wrote about my memories from September 11 and the initial catastrophe, but today I want to write about one of the secondary effects of the attacks that day. I recently heard something on CNN about toxic dust and how it's leading to an increase of cancer (and other diseases) in the first responders to Ground Zero.

At first I wasn't sure what toxic dust was and how it correlates to a rise in cancer, but after reading more about it online I've learned that after the towers collapsed, glass, asbestos, cement, lead and other toxins filled the air. Rescue workers were exposed to asbestos, mercury, broken fluorescent lightbulbs and other toxic materials. (I never realized how many chemicals are in the man-made, synthetic materials used in construction.)

Now 10 years later lots of the first responders are developing different types of cancer like melanoma, lymphoma and thyroid cancer, not to mention other things like respiratory illness, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. It makes me sad that the first responders that went to help and the rescuers that searched for survivors, and then worked to recover bodies are now developing cancer as a result.


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