Marking the 8th Anniversary of September 11, 2001


NIOSH Update:

Contact: Christina Spring, (202) 245-0633
September 11, 2009

Eight years after the tragedy at the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) honors those who perished in the attacks of 9/11, and those who heroically engaged in rescue, recovery, cleanup, and restoration activities. NIOSH remains committed to working with diverse partners to provide programs and services to help meet the on-going and long-term health needs of those people directly exposed to smoke, dust, debris, and psychological trauma associated with the 9/11 attacks.

NIOSH is proud to work with its partners to take the lessons learned in 9/11 and use them to advance tools, methods, and strategies to protect the health and safety of responders in large-scale emergencies. These efforts include:

  • Administering federal funding for the health monitoring and treatment of more than 51,000 heroic WTC emergency responders.
  • Encouraging the publication of scientific studies that describe the rates and trends in diseases among those exposed to smoke, dust, debris, and psychological trauma at the WTC site. Such studies provide valuable scientific insights to help in the health monitoring and treatment of these responders. The studies also provide data that will help the U.S. better anticipate responders’ health and safety needs for future emergency responses.
  • Developing new testing and certification criteria for respirators intended for use by emergency personnel in responding to potential terrorist attacks that may involve chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons.
  • Working with partners to meet other needs for personal protective equipment as lessons learned from 9/11, including compatibility of respirator components, the ability to communicate while wearing a face mask, and potential physical stress and heat stress from protective ensembles.

NIOSH supports multiple programs to address the health needs of responders and the community affected by the attacks. These include clinical centers of excellence providing monitoring and treatment services through the World Trade Center Responder Health Program and the World Trade Center Community Program. Additional mental health services are provided through the Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance (Police Resiliency Maintenance Program) and the NYC Police Foundation (Project COPE).

NIOSH also supports population-based health surveillance activities through the World Trade Center Health Registry at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The efforts of these partners are aimed at serving these objectives:

  • Identifying individuals suspected of having physical and mental health conditions related to WTC exposures and intervene as early as possible to minimize adverse health impacts over time.
  • Providing quality care for health conditions attributed to WTC exposures and embracing a comprehensive model to address the issues that influence long-term recovery of those affected by this disaster.
  • Gathering information to describe the disease rates and trends among those exposed to document the impacts.
  • Conducting scientific research to guide the program and to provide scientific insights for future emergency responses, including gaining a better understanding of what diseases are affecting this group.

To learn more about the NIOSH WTC response and for information on treatment services available to individuals affected by the 9/11 attacks go to

Page last reviewed: August 6, 2012