Children exposed to 9/11 'dust' show signs of heart disease risk

Children exposed to chemicals in 9/11 debris show early signs of heart disease risk, according to a new study.

Sixteen years after the World Trade Center towers collapsed and covered Lower Manhattan in a cloud of toxic dust, NYU Langone Health researchers analyzed blood tests of 308 children, almost half of whom may have come into direct contact with the debris on 9/11.

Kids with higher blood levels of the chemicals known to be in the dust had elevated levels of artery-hardening fats in their blood, reveals the report published Thursday in the journal Environmental International.

“Only now are the potential physical consequences of being within the disaster zone itself becoming clear,” said health epidemiologist Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor at NYU School of Medicine and the study’s lead investigator. The study is the first to link long-term cardiovascular health risks in children from toxic chemical exposure on 9/11.

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The remaining tower of New York's World Trade Center, Tower 2, dissolves in a cloud of dust and debris about a half hour after the first twin tower collapsed September 11, 2001. Each of the towers were hit by hijacked airliners in one of numerous acts of terrorism directed at the United States September 11, 2001. The pictures were made from across the Hudson River in Jersey City, New Jersey. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine
394261 78: Civilians take cover as a dust cloud from the collapse of the World Trade Center envelops lower Manhattan, September 11, 2001. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
This file photo dated 11 September 2001 shows Edward Fine covering his mouth as he walks through the debris after the collapse of one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York. Fine was on the 78th floor of 1 World Trade Center when it was hit by a hijacked plane 11 September. Americans mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks Sunday nagged by new burning questions about their readiness to confront a major disaster after the debacle of Hurricane Katrina. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
394261 63: Dust swirls around south Manhattan moments after a tower of the World Trade Center collapsed September 11, 2001 in New York City after two airplanes slammed into the twin towers in an alleged terrorist attack. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Office towers of Lower Manhattan in New York's financial district engulfed in smoke and dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
A man in a clothing store along lower Broadway in New York arranges a shirt in the window as clothes covered in dust and soot from the World Trade Center disaster sit on racks September 19, 2001. The attacks in New York and Washington left more than 5,000 people dead or missing and over 300 police and fire fighters were believed lost in the September 11 attack. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach MS
A group of firefighters walk near the remains of the destroyed World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. Two hijacked U.S. commercial planes slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center early on Tuesday, causing both 110-story landmarks to collapse in thunderous clouds of fire and smoke. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton JC/SV
A group of firefighters stand in the street near the destroyed World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. Two hijacked U.S. commercial planes slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center on Tuesday, causing both 110-story landmarks to collapse in thunderous clouds of fire and smoke. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton JC/SV
An office filled with dust and damage has a view of the wreckage of the World Trade Center 25 September, 2001 in New York. Search and rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of the 11 September terrorist attack. AFP PHOTO/Eric FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Graffiti for victims of the World Trade Center are written on windows covered in dust from the collapse 22 September 2001 New York. War appeared imminent as the United States stepped up the deployment of military forces south and west of Afghanistan, the base of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, who is pinpointed as the chief suspect in the deadly September 11 terrorist onslaught on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. AFP PHOTO Eric FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
398760 04: This image captured by a satellite on September 12, 2001 shows an area of white dust and smoke at the location where the 1,350-foot towers of the World Trade Center once stood in New York City. Terrorists slammed two hijacked airliners into the twin towers on September 11, killing some 3,000 people. (Photo by Spaceimaging.com/Getty Images)
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The long-term danger could be because of exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS — chemicals released into the air as electronics and furniture in the towers burned.

These chemicals include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), widely used to make plastics more flexible. U.S. manufacturers to stop using it in 2014 when its dangerous health effects were found, including lower-than-normal birthweights and brain damage.

Children exposed to 9/11 debris had significantly higher PFOA blood levels than the children who were not in the city on the day of the attack.

The most recent analysis found that roughly every threefold increase in blood PFOA levels was tied to an average 9% to 15% increase in blood fats, which are known risk factors for heart disease. These risks, however, can be countered with diet and exercise.

“Early intervention can alleviate some of the dangers to health posed by the disaster,” said Trasande.

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UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: Hijacked planes crash into the World Trade Center In New York, United States On September 11, 2001-Hijacked planes crash into the World Trade Center towers destroying both of them. (Photo by Michel SETBOUN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: (FRANCE OUT) Lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center after attack by terrorist hijacked airliners, which destroyed the Twin Towers and killed more than 3000 people in New York, United States on September 11, 2001(Photo by Alan CHIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: Firefighter covered with ash after World Trade Center collapsed in terrorist attack. (Photo by Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: New York Daily News staff photographer David Handschuh is carried from site after his leg was shattered by falling debris while photographing the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. , (Photo by Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - SEPTEMBER 11: People run from lower Manhattan after the World Trade Center was hit by planes in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
394261 33: ( NEWSWEEK, US NEWS, GERMANY OUT) Police escort a civilian from the scene of the collapse of a tower of the World Trade Center September 11, 2001 in New York City after two airplanes slammed into the twin towers in an alleged terrorist attack. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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