Area Volunteers Free of WTC Illnesses

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Research has shown a number of first responders at Ground Zero have developed long term respitory problems.

Several area members of the Texas Task Force 1 were at Ground Zero for days, but so far none of the local volunteers have developed signs of the World Trade Center illness.

According to NIOH (National Institute for Occupational and Safety Health) the September 11 attacks exposed rescue and recovery workers to unheard of levels of risk for job-related illnesses.

When the Twin Towers came crashing down in New York City in 2001, the dust and debris hung in the air thicker than smog. Studies show the air was full of extremely toxic. It is that dust which researchers blame for many of the illnesses showing up in first responders and emergency workers.

Several local members of the Texas Task Force 1 were at Ground Zero in the mist of that toxic dust, but according to Bob McKee, Director of TTF1, several safety precautions were taken to ensure their volunteers safety.

"Certainly it was a difficult environment with all kinds of things one could imagine. The importance was to protect the responders. You often see in pictures, particularly with Texas Task Force 1 and others that we wore respirators, we wore filtered masks. We did everything that we could under those circumstances."

McKee says the TTF1 volunteers who worked at Ground Zero are frequently examined to make sure they have no adverse affects from the job.