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New York City Seal Press Release

New York City Department of Health
and Mental Hygiene

Office of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sandra Mullin/Sid Dinsay
Business Hours (212) 788-5290
After Business Hours (212) 764-7667
Friday, April 30, 2004
 

33,000 ENROLLEES IN WORLD TRADE CENTER HEALTH REGISTRY TO DATE

Health Dept. Steps Up Outreach as August Deadline Approaches; More Schoolchildren,
Residents From Areas Below Canal Street On 9/11/01 Are Urged to Enroll

NEW YORK CITY, APRIL 30, 2004 - With four months left to go until the end of the registration period, more than 33,000 persons have enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry, a comprehensive effort to track the long-term physical and mental health effects on those most directly exposed to the fumes, dust, and debris resulting from the events of September 11, 2001. Today, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) released the third Data Snapshot, the Registry's quarterly enrollment update, comprising results of completed telephone interviews with 29,085 enrollees as of March 31, 2004.

"The Registry will soon become the largest project of its kind in history, and we have been pleased with the response thus far," said DOHMH Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH. "However, we hope to enroll thousands more people - including more schoolchildren - because the more participants we have, the more valuable the Registry's findings will be."

The data show that certain groups of people - broken down according to exposure group - are underrepresented when compared to other groups in the Registry. For instance, only 2% of those who signed up for the Registry are children who were enrolled in schools south of Canal Street. Parents of those children are urged to enroll them: furthermore, teens and young adults who were in high schools south of Canal on September 11th and are 18 or older are urged to enroll themselves.

Registry staff are continuing aggressive outreach efforts, including the development of a new media campaign; presentations at parent-teacher conferences and faculty meetings; direct mailings to all residents south of Canal Street; and distributing brochures about the Registry to over 200 businesses in Lower Manhattan.

In addition, Registry staff are now giving presentations at residential buildings, in both English and Chinese. In Chinatown, DOHMH has set up in-person interview sites and informational "tablings," where residents may directly interact with Registry staff to ask questions about, and enroll in the Registry.

Commissioner Frieden added: "While we would like to see many more people enroll, we already have good representation for some groups in the Registry. A considerable number of rescue workers at the WTC site, commuters, workers and passers-by who were south of Chambers Street on 9/11 have signed up. But we want more people - particularly school children and residents - to enroll before the Registry closes, or we may lose a historic opportunity to learn exactly how they were directly affected by the smoke, dust and debris from 9/11."

Highlights from the Data Snapshot

The Data Snapshot is the third in a series of reports released by DOHMH: it includes data collected as part of the Registry. Over time, the Registry will provide vital information about the occurrence of possible health effects related to the World Trade Center attacks. Enrollees complete a 30-minute phone interview with Registry staff. The registration period opened in September 2003 and is scheduled to end in August 2004. Some of the findings:

  • There are now people registered from every state. The majority of enrollees were residents of New York State on 9/11 (21,803), followed by New Jersey (3,024). Pennsylvania, California and Connecticut round out the top five.
  • 17,792 enrollees were New York City residents on 9/11.
  • Of 4,058 enrollees who evacuated their homes following the attacks, 92% have returned - with most returning within two weeks after 9/11.

Who Should Enroll in the World Trade Center Health Registry

Thousands of people from each of the five boroughs, the greater New York metropolitan area, and throughout the country are eligible to enroll in the WTC Health Registry. Those in any one or more of the following categories should enroll:

  • People who were in a building, on the street, or on the subway south of Chambers Street on 9/11/01;
  • People who were involved in rescue, recovery, clean up or other activities at the WTC site* and/or the WTC Recovery Operations on Staten Island any time between 9/11/01 and 6/30/02;
  • School children & staff enrolled at schools (pre-K through 12) or daycare centers south of Canal Street on 9/11/01;
  • People who were living south of Canal Street on 9/11/01.

* The WTC site is bounded by Chambers Street, Broadway, Rector Street and the Hudson River.

These groups do not include all those who were exposed to the fumes, smoke, and dust. However, they do ensure a wide range of all possible types of exposure. The data from the Registry will provide vital information to everyone exposed about the occurrence of health effects.

Those who enroll in the WTC Health Registry are asked to complete a 30-minute telephone survey including questions on where they were on September 11, 2001, how long they were in areas with smoke and fumes, and whether they have had any health problems since. Registrants will be periodically contacted to answer questions about any health changes. This information will then be compared with that of the general population to identify any health problems possibly linked to 9/11. Ultimately, findings drawn from the health registry will enable researchers to observe patterns that may be invisible to individual physicians. All information given will be kept strictly private and confidential. No medical examinations or tests are required.

The WTC Health Registry is a collaborative effort between DOHMH and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), with funding provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

To find out more about the World Trade Center Health Registry or to enroll, call toll-free, 1-(866) NYC-WTCR (1-866-692-9827). People can also log on to wtcregistry.org, or call 311 (in New York City) and ask for more information about the Registry. The latest edition of the Data Snapshot can also be found at wtcregistry.org.

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