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9/11-related experiences and tasks of landfill and barge workers: qualitative analysis from the World Trade Center Health Registry.

Ekenga CC, Scheu KE, Cone JE, Stellman SD, Farfel MR - BMC Public Health (2011)

Bottom Line: They described the transport of debris to the Landfill via barges, the tasks and responsibilities associated with their post-9/11 work at the Landfill, and their reflections on their post-9/11 experiences.Eight years after the World Trade Center disaster, workers expressed frustration about poor risk communication during recovery and cleanup work.Though proud of their contributions in the months after 9/11, some participants were concerned about long-term health outcomes.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Epidemiology, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, New York, USA.

ABSTRACT

Background: Few studies have documented the experiences of individuals who participated in the recovery and cleanup efforts at the World Trade Center Recovery Operation at Fresh Kills Landfill, on debris loading piers, and on transport barges after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

Methods: Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of workers and volunteers from the World Trade Center Health Registry. Qualitative methods were used to analyze the narratives.

Results: Twenty workers and volunteers were interviewed. They described the transport of debris to the Landfill via barges, the tasks and responsibilities associated with their post-9/11 work at the Landfill, and their reflections on their post-9/11 experiences. Tasks included sorting through debris, recovering human remains, searching for evidence from the terrorist attacks, and providing food and counseling services. Exposures mentioned included dust, fumes, and odors. Eight years after the World Trade Center disaster, workers expressed frustration about poor risk communication during recovery and cleanup work. Though proud of their contributions in the months after 9/11, some participants were concerned about long-term health outcomes.

Conclusions: This qualitative study provided unique insight into the experiences, exposures, and concerns of understudied groups of 9/11 recovery and cleanup workers. The findings are being used to inform the development of subsequent World Trade Center Health Registry exposure and health assessments.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Debris transport routes from World Trade Center site to World Trade Center Recovery Operation at Fresh Kills Landfill.
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Figure 1: Debris transport routes from World Trade Center site to World Trade Center Recovery Operation at Fresh Kills Landfill.

Mentions: Debris from Ground Zero was transported to lower Manhattan piers for loading onto barges (Figure 1). According to one pier worker: "they fill them [barges] up in Manhattan and then they bring them over to Staten Island." After the barges arrived on Staten Island, the barges were off-loaded by crane into a holding pit. One barge worker commented on the unloading process: "They [officials] would at different times be overseeing the unloading of a barge 'cause they thought things might be in it ...but they were just watching to see if there was anything of importance to them, that they would want this operation stopped and get everybody out of there and then they would be digging around for whatever it was they were trying to find." After the contents of the pit were inspected, the debris was loaded on trucks and driven to the Landfill.


9/11-related experiences and tasks of landfill and barge workers: qualitative analysis from the World Trade Center Health Registry.

Ekenga CC, Scheu KE, Cone JE, Stellman SD, Farfel MR - BMC Public Health (2011)

Debris transport routes from World Trade Center site to World Trade Center Recovery Operation at Fresh Kills Landfill.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3111381&req=5

Figure 1: Debris transport routes from World Trade Center site to World Trade Center Recovery Operation at Fresh Kills Landfill.
Mentions: Debris from Ground Zero was transported to lower Manhattan piers for loading onto barges (Figure 1). According to one pier worker: "they fill them [barges] up in Manhattan and then they bring them over to Staten Island." After the barges arrived on Staten Island, the barges were off-loaded by crane into a holding pit. One barge worker commented on the unloading process: "They [officials] would at different times be overseeing the unloading of a barge 'cause they thought things might be in it ...but they were just watching to see if there was anything of importance to them, that they would want this operation stopped and get everybody out of there and then they would be digging around for whatever it was they were trying to find." After the contents of the pit were inspected, the debris was loaded on trucks and driven to the Landfill.

Bottom Line: They described the transport of debris to the Landfill via barges, the tasks and responsibilities associated with their post-9/11 work at the Landfill, and their reflections on their post-9/11 experiences.Eight years after the World Trade Center disaster, workers expressed frustration about poor risk communication during recovery and cleanup work.Though proud of their contributions in the months after 9/11, some participants were concerned about long-term health outcomes.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Epidemiology, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, New York, USA.

ABSTRACT

Background: Few studies have documented the experiences of individuals who participated in the recovery and cleanup efforts at the World Trade Center Recovery Operation at Fresh Kills Landfill, on debris loading piers, and on transport barges after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

Methods: Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of workers and volunteers from the World Trade Center Health Registry. Qualitative methods were used to analyze the narratives.

Results: Twenty workers and volunteers were interviewed. They described the transport of debris to the Landfill via barges, the tasks and responsibilities associated with their post-9/11 work at the Landfill, and their reflections on their post-9/11 experiences. Tasks included sorting through debris, recovering human remains, searching for evidence from the terrorist attacks, and providing food and counseling services. Exposures mentioned included dust, fumes, and odors. Eight years after the World Trade Center disaster, workers expressed frustration about poor risk communication during recovery and cleanup work. Though proud of their contributions in the months after 9/11, some participants were concerned about long-term health outcomes.

Conclusions: This qualitative study provided unique insight into the experiences, exposures, and concerns of understudied groups of 9/11 recovery and cleanup workers. The findings are being used to inform the development of subsequent World Trade Center Health Registry exposure and health assessments.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus