Emergency medical workers who worked on-site immediately after the 9/11 attacks in New York are at significantly higher risk of chronic illness than employees who did not work there, according to Jennifer Yip and her associates.

Incidence of both gastroesophageal reflux disease and obstructive airways disease was 12%, with rhinosinusitis incidence at 11%. On-site EMS workers had depression rates of 17% and posttraumatic stress disorder rates of 7%. On-site EMS workers were four times more likely to have GERD or rhinosinusitis, seven times more likely to have PTSD, and twice as likely to have depression as a similar group of workers who were not at the World Trade Center.

The study findings demonstrate “that the burden of disease over the 12-year study period was substantial, highlighting the need for continued monitoring and treatment of EMS workers,” the investigators concluded.Find the full study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine (doi:10.1136/oemed-2014-102601).

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