On September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center towers crashed down, around 3017 persons were reported dead officially. However, the aftermath of 9/11 is still continuing and not many know about it.
Mesothelioma is a deadly form of lung cancer that affects anyone who comes in contact with asbestos. Asbestos dust, when inhaled through the nose or mouth enters the lungs/abdomen and starts corroding the same leading to uncontrollable cellular reproduction. This in turn, leads to mesothelioma. Asbestos is used in building and construction industries as it has high level of fire-retarding qualities. Mesothelioma has no known cure and results in the worst possible form of painful death. The worst part is you don’t need to be exposed to asbestos over a period of time. Even a single exposure can lead to mesothelioma.
During 9/11, the buildings shattered, plastic melted, metals burned and all this has released loads of asbestos dust and asbestos fibers into the atmosphere. However, proper clean-up was not done immediately. While the governments were tending to the dead and injured, the potential dangers to the living was overlooked. People started going to offices and looked around in dismay at the layers of white dust that surrounded them. They just swept it off and carried on with their work unsuspectingly, without realizing the huge amount of asbestos that is bound to exist in that dust. Asbestos clean-up operations by the government were definitely lax.
The dedicated Ground Zero workers like the firefighters and policemen were not given adequate protection from the toxic substances circulating in the air. These heroes took in all those harmful substances through their nose and mouth. Now, they are facing persistent lung problems. Mesothelioma has a very long latency period, around 20-30 years. That means, it may take around 20-30 years for mesothelioma to be detected after the initial exposure to the asbestos fibers/ dust. So, it may take another 15-20 years before the effect of the asbestos exposure on the city’s heroes is known. Till then, they are at potential risk for contracting mesothelioma and various other diseases.