A new survey of Sept. 11-related illnesses has found an alarming increase in asthma -- 12 times higher than normal -- among those who toiled on the toxic debris piles of ground zero.
The study was released Monday by the New York City Department of Health, based on responses gathered by the World Trade Center Health Registry.
The data show 3.6% of the 25,000 rescue and recovery workers in the registry reported developing asthma after working at the site -- more than 12 times the expected figure for adults over a similar time period.
"The risk was significantly elevated for fire and rescue workers, medical workers and police and military personnel compared to volunteers," according to the study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Overall, workers who arrived at the disaster site on the day of the attacks and stayed more than 90 days reported the highest rate of new asthma -- 7%.