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Years later, 9/11 dust, fumes cause headaches: study

world Updated: Feb 11, 2010 09:57 IST

Exposure to dust and fumes caused by the collapse of the World Trade Centre during the September 11, 2001 attacks can cause headaches years later, according to a study.

“We knew that headaches were common in people living and working near the World Trade Centre on and immediately after 9/11, but this is the first study to look at headaches several years after the event,” said study author Sara Crystal of the New York University School of Medicine on Wednesday.

The study involved 765 people who were enrolled in the Bellevue Hospital World Trade Centre Environmental Health Centre seven years after the building collapse and who did not have headaches prior to the 2001 attacks.

About 55 per cent of the participants reported having exposure to the initial World Trade Centre dust cloud.

Forty-three per cent of those surveyed said they had headaches in the four weeks prior to enrolling in the study, and people caught in the initial dust cloud were slightly more likely to report headaches than those who were not.

People with headaches were also more likely to experience wheezing, breathlessness during exercise, nasal drip or sinus congestion and reflux disease after 9/11.

“More research needs to be done on the possible longer-term effects of exposure to gasses and dust when the World Trade Centre fell,” Crystal said.

“We also need additional studies to understand the relationship between headaches, other physical symptoms, and mental health issues."