The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), an environmental public health agency under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will assist the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in creating a registry of people who may have been exposed to the World Trade Center site, either from working, living, or cleaning up in the area affected by the disaster.
The registry will follow the health of the 100,000 - 200,000 people exposed to substances emanating from the collapse and cleanup of the World Trade Center to help determine whether their exposure has any relationship to short- or long-term health problems they may experience.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing $20 million to HHS to establish the registry.
"FEMA is fully committed to funding the establishment of this registry," said WTC Federal Recovery Officer Brad Gair. "Among the issues of greatest importance is the health of those who were in the vicinity of the World Trade Center after the buildings collapsed. Tracking and monitoring the potential long-term effects is essential for area residents and office workers as well as for the first responders, volunteers and those who worked so diligently in victim recovery and debris removal operations at Ground Zero."
Dr. Henry Falk, ATSDR assistant administrator, said, "We are currently working in partnership with the New York City Department of Health to determine the details of the registry. We anticipate releasing more information on the registry and how people can participate by the end of the summer."
The registry is expected to launch in late fall 2002.