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Risk Assessment for Asbestos-Related Cancer From the 9/11 Attack on the World Trade Center

Nolan, Robert P. PhD; Ross, Malcolm PhD; Nord, Gordon L. PhD; Axten, Charles W. PhD; Osleeb, Jeffrey P. PhD; Domnin, Stanislav G. MD, DSc; Price, Bertram PhD; Wilson, Richard DPhil

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: August 2005 - Volume 47 - Issue 8 - pp 817-825
Original Articles

Objective: We sought to estimate the lifetime risk of asbestos-related cancer for residents of Lower Manhattan attributable to asbestos released into the air by the 9/11 attack on New York City's World Trade Center (WTC).

Methods: Exposure was estimated from available data and reasoned projections based on these data. Cancer risk was assessed using an asbestos risk model that differentiates asbestos fiber-types and the US Environmental Protection Agency's model that does not differentiate fiber-types and combines mesothelioma and lung cancer risks.

Results: The upper limit for the expected number of asbestos-related cancers is less than one case over the lifetime of the population for the risk model that is specific for fiber-types and 12 asbestos-related cancers with the US Environmental Protection Agency's model.

Conclusions: The cancer risk associated with asbestos exposures for residents of Lower Manhattan resulting from the collapse of the WTC is negligible.

From the Center for Applied Studies of the Environment & Earth and Environmental Sciences of the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, New York; State Federal Center for Sanitary and Epidemiologic Control, Ministry of Public Health, Moscow, Russian Federation; Price Associates, Inc, White Plains, New York; and Department of Physics and Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard University, 9 Oxford Street Rear, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Supported by a Higher Education Advanced Technology grant from the State of New York and the International Environmental Research Foundation of New York City.

Current address of Jeffrey P. Osleeb: Geography Department, University of Connecticut, 215 Glenbrook Road, Unit 4148, Storrs, CT 06269-4148.

Address correspondence to: Dr R. P. Nolan, Center for Applied Studies of the Environment & Earth and Environmental Sciences of the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016; E-mail: rnolan@gc.cuny.edu.

©2005The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine