MIAMI (WSVN) - Nearly 21 years since the 9/11 attacks, researchers are learning more about the long-term health impacts from the unprecedented environmental exposure to carcinogens at the World Trade Center disaster site.

“We do believe this is mounting evidence that environmental exposures, in particular the exposure to the World Trade Center disaster, puts people at risk for developing multiple myeloma,” said Dr. Ola Landgren, from the University of Miami Health System, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Landgren led the study, along with the New York City Fire Department, that examined thousands of people who responded to the attacks and worked on the clean-up, finding those who were exposed to the site doubled their risk of developing myeloma, the second most common blood cancer in adults.

It’s a follow up to a 2018 study on 1,000 firefighters, where they also learned, they too developed the same cancer.

“We wanted to expand the study base by including individuals who are normally not exposed to these types of exposures,” Landgren said.

The research showed clean up crews were exposed to aerosolized dust as well as toxic fumes from burning jet fuel and building materials.

“I think the data provides important insight as I mentioned, and there truly seems to be an increased risk because it’s not only the rescue workers,” Landgren said.

He said their study also gave new insight into the overall causes of cancer.

“We really have very few leads on what causes cancer and precursors of cancer, and there are not that many defined environmental exposures, so in that sense, I think this is a very important step forward,” he said. “To know what causes these diseases, it allows us to prevent people from being exposed to these things in the future.”

Landgren adds this also brings to light the importance of having proper protection for first responders when performing their duties.

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