MAC: Mines and Communities

Physical, Mental Health of 9/11 Survivors to Be Surveyed Again

Published by MAC on 2006-06-02

Physical, Mental Health of 9/11 Survivors to Be Surveyed Again


2nd June 2006

To understand the health effects of the World Trade Center attacks on people who lived through the events of September 11, 2001 at close range, New York City and federal health officials will conduct another survey of the 71,000 people who enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry.

Results will be used to improve the recognition and treatment of conditions associated with stress and exposure to the environmental contaminants released when the World Trade Center towers were hit by hijacked airplanes, both for people who have registered and for others.

The follow-up survey was announced Thursday by New York City Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden and Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and coordinator for federal World Trade Center (WTC) health response programs.

Dr. Frieden said, "The WTC attack was an unprecedented urban environmental event. Hundreds of thousands of residents, pedestrians, workers, and members of rescue, recovery and cleanup teams were exposed to psychological stress and potential environmental contaminants."

"At the time of the first survey in 2003 - 2004, thousands of people still reported significant mental health and respiratory impacts. Continued follow-up is important to identifying conditions that require further attention, and designing projects and treatments to help those still reporting adverse health effects from 9/11," he said. Dr. Howard said, "The Registry's follow-up survey is an important step forward in expanding our knowledge of the health effects of the events of 9/11 among diverse groups of individuals nearly five years after the tragic events."

All 71,000 enrollees who completed a 30 minute telephone interview during 2003 and 2004 are urged to participate in the follow up survey. The more enrollees who continue to participate in follow-ups, the better the Registry will be at assessing the health impacts of the 9/11 disaster and determining how to help enrollees and others who were directly affected by 9/11.

Designed to track registrants for up to 20 years, the Registry is already producing useful information. Health officials announced in April that about 8,000 survivors of buildings that collapsed or were damaged as a result of the World Trade Center attacks had substantial mental health problems and reported high levels of respiratory symptoms when interviewed in 2003 and 2004.

New York City Fire Department Captain Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and a member of the WTC Labor Advisory Committee, encouraged first responders to participate in the follow-up survey.

"The more people that participate in this and all planned follow up surveys for the WTCHR will help get information not just to our uniformed workers, but our residents, children and families," he said.

Starting this week, all enrollees who provided an email address will receive an email with a link to the on-line version of the survey. Those who did not provide an email address will be mailed a paper copy of the survey, which should be completed and returned in the pre-paid return envelope.

A specialized pediatric survey will be sent to parents and guardians of enrollees under 18 years of age.

The survey takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete and is available in English, Spanish and Chinese with other languages available via a translation hotline.

The follow up survey includes many of the same health questions from the initial interviews done in 2003-2004. It will also include follow-up questions to clarify information from the first survey, and new questions for specific groups in the Registry.

Enrollee responses are protected by a Federal Certificate of Confidentiality. Responses to the follow-up survey will provide an update on the current physical and mental health of 71,000 enrollees five years after the events of 9/11.

The World Trade Center Health Registry was opened on September 5, 2003, to track the health of Lower Manhattan residents, school children and staff, building occupants, persons in transit and visitors, as well as rescue, recovery and cleanup workers and volunteers who were directly exposed to the collapse of the World Trade.

Marijo Russell O’Grady, a lower Manhattan resident who chairs the WTC Community Advisory Board said, "The Registry will give us valuable information about the potential long-term effects of 9/11. As a resident of lower Manhattan, I can say that none of us will soon forget this tragedy, and information the Registry will provide is crucial to our recovery."

The largest effort ever made in the United States to systemically monitor the health of people exposed to a large-scale disaster, the Registry is the only resource designed to track and maintain contact with those most affected by the events of September 11, 2001.

Dr. Lorna Thorpe, DOHMH’s Deputy Commissioner for Epidemiology Services, said, "To all of our WTC health registrants, we thank you for participating in the first survey and making this registry a strong resource to learn about the potential health effects of the WTC attacks. We are counting on your help again to help us learn as much as we can from this terrible tragedy."

Visit for more information on the Registry.

The Registry maintains a comprehensive directory of available resources and treatment options to benefit participants and others affected by the disaster at:

The Registry is also a unique resource open to health experts around the world to help them conduct more in-depth health investigations at:

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