The attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 affected the lives of many individuals, especially those responding to the emergency. Firefighters, EMTs, and other first-responders received large doses of asbestos exposure that is continuing to affect their health today.
When the towers collapsed, nearly 400 tons of asbestos fibers were released into air in lower Manhattan. Many were exposed on that day and days to follow during the clean up of the debris. In addition to several cancers, different autoimmune diseases are now being reported amongst the workers.
The longer the workers remained at the site, the more likely they are to develop an autoimmune disease. It is not clear what chemical is directly responsible for their conditions, but it is known that exposure to toxic substances like asbestos and silica "seems to make the immune system more reactive."
If you worked as a firefighter in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, you will want to alert your doctor to the possibility of exposure to a hazardous substance, like asbestos. This will allow them to monitor your health for cancers and the autoimmune diseases beginning to appear in other workers.
Source: New Scientist