Cancer rates triple among NYPD 9/11 first responders

From the Telegraph: "Of the 12,000 who attended the scene of the atrocity at the World Trade Center 10 years ago, 297 have been diagnosed with cancer, almost triple the incidence before the attack. A report said that 56 who have been diagnosed had since died."


  1. Sorry to chime in early as a skeptic, but where are the relevant comparisons backing this assertion? Aren’t officers who responded by default now 10 years older? What are the cancer rates in the relevant control groups, i.e. officers of the same cohort who didn’t respond to the attacks (e.g. from another region of the country)?

    I don’t mean to imply the event didn’t cause an increase in cancer incidence, but I don’t see the data supporting the article’s implication that it did.

    1. Completely agreed. A quick google search turned up the first chart on this page

      which if you compare the age 30-34 bin to the age 40-44 bin suggests that a doubling of cancer risk in that period is normal (58 vs 113 / 100,000 males), and that there’s a tripling between the 40-44 bins and the 50-54 bins (113 vs 355). If you want to establish that toxic exposure at ground zero increased rates you’d need to show that that whole curve has been shifted to the left. For now I think you’d have to fail to reject the null hypothesis.

      To properly compare the scales the article states that the rates were 6 per 12,000 per year and are now 16 per 12,000, = 50 vs 133 / 100,00.

  2. It was only last year that Republicans first outright blocked and then slashed billions from a bill to help cover their health care costs. It apparently would have made it harder to pass the bill lowering the taxes of millionaires.


    1.  Pfft.. I know right. Fucking pathetic, America. Do what is right.

      You expected these people to go above and beyond, then you screw them after their brave actions have resulted in  illness. I can’t imagine this will inspire the next generation of first responders to sign up.

      How America can even tolerate the GOP is beyond me. They advocate the most insane shit: tax cuts for the rich & huge military spending but they can’t bring themselves to fork out to help a handful of people who shortened their lives acting in response to an attack that occurred in response to America’s foreign policy and because intelligence agencies dropped the ball.

      So the government fucks up, then refuses to support those who had to clean up their mess.

  3. I imagine they have taken the ages into consideration and it’s the *types* of cancers that are showing up. I had a person close to me die of a lung cancer last year, who lived less than a half-mile from ground zero. He was out there in the ash on 9/11.  He was not a smoker. 

    1. You would imagine that they’d take age into account, but in this case there is no evidence at all that they did. It doesn’t mean that real cancer rate isn’t higher among  those at ground zero, but these numbers don’t demonstrate that claim, and that’s the problem with stories like this. The takeaway message is appealing and intuitive, but the measurements don’t lead to the conclusion. Once again if the incidence of certain types of cancer is much higher, show the evidence, these numbers don’t address that claim either. One person dying of a disease they should be at low risk for also doesn’t imply anything (on its own) about the dangers of the cloud.

  4. Even if control groups prove this stat to be right, it doesn’t automatically mean that environmental factors are a cause. Stress still remains a viable theory. Even though the rate is triple, 297 out of 12,000 is very small. Thank goodness.

    1. And even if it turns out to be stress rather than environmental factors, the fact that it affected this narrow group of people would still indicate that it is most likely a result of that days events and that they therefore deserve whatever help we can offer.

  5. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if their cancer rates were higher, one more point:
    Cancer rate Rate of diagnosis.  These people are likely being screened more carefully than average and a lot of cancers go completely undetected if you’re not out there looking for it.

Comments are closed.