Only a few months after cancer was added to the list of ailments covered by the World Trade Center Fund, a study conducted by the New York City Health Department has found no clear link between cancer and the environment to which those present at the world trade center on 9/11 were exposed. This study is the largest to date, examining 55,700 individuals, including rescue and recovery workers at the World Trade Center site, residents of lower Manhattan, students, workers and passers-by present on the day of the attack.
The study found no overall increase in the cancer rate of those studied compared with the rate in the general population. Researchers did find that the rates of multiple myeloma, prostate and thyroid cancers were higher in rescue and recovery workers; however, these findings are most likely due to a key confounding factor that this population is being monitored more closely and receiving more diligent screenings for prostate and thyroid cancer. Close monitoring of any group would naturally be expected to detect more cancers than in the general population, so any small rise in the incidence of cancer is an artifact of the study not a real result. And, importantly, there was no correlation between cancer incidence and the intensity (or dose) of the exposure.
Dr. Alfred I. Neugut, an oncologist and professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University says, I think, given the time frame and the exposures, that there wasn t a high likelihood that there would be an elevated risk, certainly for cancer, and to the degree that it was, it would not be for the cancers that they re finding. He goes on to say that The 9/11 attack was a terrible thing, but it doesn t cause everything in the world and You have to be exposed for an extended time before you get cancer.