Sarcoidosis is a systemic disease that can affect any organ. “Common symptoms are vague, such as fatigue unchanged by sleep, lack of energy, weight loss, aches and pains, dry eyes, blurry vision, shortness of breath, a dry hacking cough or skin lesions.” The disease can lead to long term, serious side effects including fatality.
These symptoms are consistent with the problems reported by many first responders and workers involved in the rescue and clean-up efforts at the World Trade Center. According to a report published and discussed on an online medical information site, “We report here that the incidence of sarcoidosis among FDNY WTC rescue workers (firefighters and EMS workers) was significantly increased when compared to the years before WTC dust exposure. This was especially true during the first 12 months after WTC dust exposure.”
The report goes on to note that “The lay press has reported four case fatalities in non-FDNY WTC dust-exposed subjects due to interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis (cardiopulmonary involvement), and granulomatous pneumonitis.” All of this medical language adds up to the fact that there were tens of thousands of workers and New York residents exposed to toxic air pollution following the 9/11 disaster. With many pulmonary afflictions such as the lung cancer mesothelioma, the initial exposure to pollutants does not result in lethal diseases manifesting themselves until years later.
To many in the medical community, the impact of the pollution released by the collapse of the World Trade Center is just now beginning to come into focus. It is impossible to define cause-and-effect with regard to World Trade Center diseases, but it is clear that there is a relationship – with potentially serious consequences for thousands of people. The study report continues: “What could have caused the increased incidence of sarcoidosis among FDNY rescue workers, many within the first year after WTC dust exposure? More than 400 substances have been identified in airborne and settled samples of WTC dust.”
Medical statistics argue for a complex analysis of World Trade Center diseases. Once again, the report says, “WTC dust-induced asthma and AHR could represent a separate disease resulting from massive exposure to dust constituents coexisting with WTC-[sarcoidosis].
“This hypothesis is supported by the fact that the predominant clinical syndrome in workers, volunteers, and residents participating in health monitoring programs following WTC exposure has been… inflammation involving the upper and lower respiratory tracts that results in WTC cough (new or worsening asthma, AHR, sinusitis, and/or gastroesophageal reflux). This syndrome has affected thousands of workers and volunteers.”