Decades After 9-11 a Toxic Toll Remains Overlooked


The preventable rail disaster which struck East Palestine, Ohio, in February of this year, underscores the toxic toll suffered by those living in Manhattan, New York, in 2001. As we remember, for the 22nd time, the earth-shattering terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, “the number of first responders who have died from 9/11-related illnesses now almost equals the number of firefighters who died during the terror attacks themselves.” Unfortunately, cancer isn’t the only life changing illness suffered by those subjected to the destruction of the twin towers. The medical community is totally unprepared to help those afflicted by Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance in any way. Doctors only grudgingly admit the condition even exists.

A lifetime of toxic effects

CNN is focusing their coverage of the September 11 horror on health nightmares suffered by first responders from the toxic conditions. While they make a great point, they don’t go nearly far enough.

A total of 341 New York City Fire Department firefighters, paramedics and civilian support staff who died from post-911 illnesses are now memorialized at the FDNY World Trade Center Memorial Wall,” they write.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association is comforted by that memorial which “commemorates both first responders who died during the attacks and those who died from related illnesses in the years since.” While most people instantly think of cancer, there is a much more insidious disease you probably never even heard of.

You might even have TILT to a minor degree without realizing it. There’s a roughly one in four chance you do, if you live in America. For folks like those in East Palestine, Ohio and the surrounding areas into Pennsylvania, who were similarly poisoned by toxic chemicals, the chance is practically 100 percent. This year, FDNY added “43 names to the memorial on September 6.

As we approach the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, the FDNY continues to feel the impact of that day. Each year, this memorial wall grows as we honor of those who gave their lives in service of others,” Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh relates in a statement. “These brave men and women showed up that day, and in the days and months following the attacks to participate in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site. We will never forget them.

Exposure to a wide variety of unhealthy substances released by the fires and debris from collapsing buildings “has been tied to heightened risk of cardiovascular disease among firefighters who responded to the scene. Additionally, respiratory disease and thousands of cancer diagnoses have been linked to the toxic pollutants released during the attacks.” Nobody wants to talk about TILT. Especially not officials with the Department of Health and Human Services.

WTC cough

One of the landmark studies on chemical sensitivity concentrates an entire section to analyzing the World Trade Center attack and it’s aftermath. The tragedy, researchers note, “dispersed clouds of smoke, fuel, and debris into the surrounding area, engulfing streets and infiltrating homes and other structures.” Those toxic “airborne particles and their re-suspension during clean-up activities resulted in heavy and prolonged exposures for first responders and nearby residents.

Many “developed respiratory symptoms including a new syndrome with persistent cough and severe breathing difficulties, dubbed ‘WTC cough.” The Government Accountability Office reports “almost all responding firefighters developed persistent respiratory problems, ending the careers of hundreds.

While that was expected to a certain degree, there were other and more long term symptoms of toxic exposure. According to Dr. Steven Levin of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, his patients from Lower Manhattan “have noticed a general improvement in their symptoms but find that exposure to cigarette smoke, vehicle exhaust, cleaning solutions, perfume, or other airborne irritants provokes re-occurrence of their symptoms in ways they never experienced before 9/11.

That’s something commonly reported by those similarly exposed to excessive amounts of environmental toxins.

The most recent prevalence studies note “15–36% of the U.S. population reporting Chemical Intolerances or sensitivity.” Despite roughly 85 million Americans affected by the condition, clearly linked to an initial toxic exposure event, it’s “been overlooked in medicine and public health.” Milder cases get misdiagnosed and treated symptomatically, until the treatments stop working and the patient can no longer tolerate the prescription meds.

At that point, the patients are cut loose and left to fend for themselves by avoiding all exposure to anything they are triggered by. There are only a handful of knowledgeable physicians trained appropriately to diagnose and manage patients with the condition across the entire nation. There is no treatment or cure. That’s why most TILT patients commit suicide before they’re forced into a nursing home.

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