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911 Survivors at Risk for Mesothelioma

by Kevin Caruso

In early 2005, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) released an important research report on the effects of the dust that filled the air after the collapse of the Twin Towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, on 911.

The report found that the air was “heavily contaminated” with asbestos particles, which are known to cause mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is an extremely dangerous, aggressive cancer; and there are currently no effective treatments for it. Thus the mortality rate is very high.

Mesothelioma may take many years to develop, so 911 survivors will be at risk decades into the future.

911 survivors at highest risk are those who inhaled the most dust on 911, which would include rescue workers at Ground Zero, tower survivors, and residents in the Ground Zero area.

Additional independent research data supports MARF’s findings.

MARF recommended to Congress that a National Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Program be established to work for effective mesothelioma treatments.

America strongly supports MARF’s position and strongly supports all 911 survivors.

To all 911 survivors at risk for methothelioma:

My friends, please realize that THERE IS HOPE.

One of the most important statements that MARF made in its press release was this:

MARF's Science Advisory Board and other experts believe that recent developments in experimental treatments and protocols demonstrate that with adequate funding, a cure for this cruel disease is within reach.

There is hope. We just need to make sure that our hero 911 survivors receive the help that we need and that adequate funding is obtained for mesothelioma research.

There is hope.

We support all 911 survivors!

Below are excerpts from the Mesothelioman Applied Research Foundation’s research report on the effects of the 911 air:

Are future deaths and injuries likely as a result of the terrorist attack of 9-11? Can we establish that contamination from the dust of the collapse of the towers might be the cause of future health problems among residents and rescue workers?

We know that the gray cloud which covered lower the immediate aftermath, contained a variety of substances that are usually injurious to human health. These included traces of glass shards, asbestos, fiberglass, pulverized concrete, lead, mercury, cadmium, dioxins, PCB's, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as well as benzene.

Significant media attention has already been directed at the short term health impact of exposure to this concoction. It now appears that many first responders, cleanup crews and local residents have fallen ill with a variety of respiratory ailments, including a "World Trade Center Cough" caused by bronchial responsiveness as well as "ear, nose, and throat problems."

These have affected fully 88 percent of those who participated in a Mount Sinai School of Medicine study of the rescue workers. These data, and numerous anecdotal accounts of police and firefighters placed on disability due to similar ailments, have made it important to document more clearly the nature and degree of the exposure to potentially toxic substances that took place.

It is known that a large amount of asbestos was used to insulate the lower floors of the Twin Towers. Estimates range from 100 to as high as 1000 tons but it remains unclear how much asbestos actually became airborne on 9-11. It also isn't known yet how much asbestos found its way into adjacent buildings before they were cleaned up. The collapse of the towers was clearly an unprecedented event. Nothing like it has been seen before in connection with asbestos exposure. Was this asbestos event significant enough to cause future cases of mesothelioma?

The attack of 9-11 was unprecedented in terms of an asbestos exposure event. History, therefore, can't guide us as to what the exact cancer risk is, but it appears more than likely that a health crisis will unfold over the next two to three decades unless we find a cure for mesothelioma.

Pictures and videos of pervasive dust clouds and "poor" protective equipment are widely available. Is this sufficient to prove that conditions on the ground in those first few days represented a bolus8, or extremely massive, toxin exposure of WTC dust? Unfortunately, none of these questions have yet been definitively answered and we therefore don't understand the long term health risk. Resolving these questions is more than a moral imperative. It is a matter of the greatest urgency if we are to have the time to develop a cure for mesothelioma and stop any more names from being added to the list of victims of the terrorist attack of 9-11.

Asbestos In The Towers The World Trade Center wasn't completed until 1973 and New York City banned the use of asbestos in 1971. This meant that only the first 64 floors of the towers were sprayed with asbestos fire retardant.9 The upper floors of the building received a different, and some say a less effective, passive fire protection treatment. The other buildings that formed the rest of the WTC were completed after the towers and were also protected with an asbestos replacement.

The metal beams that formed the frame of the Twin Towers were given a fire retardant coating by spraying an asbestos-containing foam onto the cross members during construction. Asbestos Corporation of Canada even advertised the "fire retardant" advantages of the asbestos used in the towers in a 1981 ad. How much asbestos was actually used in the construction of buildings one and two? A review of available sources was done by the Independent Media ( in 2001 and found that W.R. Grace, U.S. Mineral, and others were involved in placing asbestos insulation, floor tiles and other incidental building materials into the towers.

According to Indymedia's research, "W.R. Grace asbestos-containing insulation was used at the WTC." "Grace Vermiculite...was 2-5 percent asbestos. 100,000 80 pound bags of this vermiculite were used in the WTC. In addition, 9,150 pounds of MonoKote 3 was used at the WTC. MonoKote 3 was about 20 percent asbestos. Therefore, in total about 201,183 pounds of pure asbestos fiber from Grace alone was used in the WTC."11 According to the National Resources Defense Council report of February 2002, an estimated 300 to 400 tons of asbestos from all vendors was used during construction.12 We can reliably estimate, therefore, that at least 400 tons of asbestos fibers, and possibly more, were in the buildings at the time of the collapse.

The WTC dust was created from the mix of volatile chemicals and toxic metals that had been vaporized in the tower fires and pulverized by the collapse. These materials were further combined with the friable substances found throughout the buildings, such as fuel oil, plastics, paper etc.

The sheer impact of the collapse, combined with the intense heat of the fires, created a light and easily dispersed toxic dust that filled the air and entered nearby buildings under intense pressure, occupying every available space within the structures.

In the opinion of RJL, the WTC signature dust was more easily aerosolized and more easily respirable (breathable) due to the unique way in which it was created. It was found throughout the entire structure within accessible, as well as inaccessible, locations in the building. Ordinary asbestos dust is created through destructive forces that are considerably less forceful than the tower collapse. The asbestos fibers found in the WTC signature dust were much thinner, lighter, and shorter, making them much more likely to penetrate the lung and to translocate across tissue boundaries. Such properties are directly implicated as being causative for mesothelioma.

Remember that there is hope.

Again,one of the most statements that MARF made in its press releas was this:

MARF's Science Advisory Board and other experts believe that recent developments in experimental treatments and protocols demonstrate that with adequate funding, a cure for this cruel disease is within reach.

To view the complete report on the website, please click below:

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