World Trade Center Health Registry

Remembering 9/11, 20 Years Later

The continued health impacts of 9/11 continue to emerge even 20 years later. This is why the Registry continues its mission of researching the long-term physical and mental health effects of 9/11 (PDF).

20th Anniversary Virtual Town Hall with the NYC Health Department and Registry

For the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a special town hall aired online. This town hall focuses on the ongoing work of the WTC Health Registry since 2002.

Enrollee Stories

After 9/11, Marya Columbia played in a group of musicians for the rescue and recovery workers who came to St. Paul’s Chapel for a break from their physically and emotionally draining daily work at ground zero. Marya volunteered for months, and her time at ground zero greatly contributed to her lung cancer diagnosis in May 2019.

For more stories and testimonials from enrollees throughout the past 20 years, visit the testimonial page.


The World Trade Center Health Registry researchers track and investigate possible trends in illness and recovery.

Our reports are used to help create guidelines that can save lives and reduce injuries in future disaster settings. Through our Treatment Referral Program, we help enrollees get the 9/11-related medical monitoring and treatment they need.

The Registry continues its mission to better understand the long-term physical and mental health effects of 9/11, and to identify gaps in health care for all those affected.

History

After 9/11, there were concerns about potentially long-term health effects from the disaster, especially from the toxins people inhaled from the dust cloud and the psychological impact of the events.

In November 2001, the NYC Health Department helped create a registry devoted to handling 9/11-related health effects. Their main goals were to:

  • Track the health of people affected by 9/11
  • Document the physical and mental health impact of 9/11
  • Investigate rare cancers among those who were near the World Trade Center
  • Provide information for health screening programs
  • Help registry enrollees find services for their 9/11 health-related conditions

An estimated 400,000 were initially eligible for the registry. In July 2002, the World Trade Center Health Registry received federal funding to begin operations.

Health Surveys

In 2003 and 2004, the Registry began a voluntary enrollment for people who lived, worked or went to school near the World Trade Center, as well as for those who were involved in rescue and recovery efforts. To enroll, people completed a health survey — called Wave 1 — about their experiences on 9/11 and their health.

We used this data to compare the health of those directly exposed to 9/11 to the general population.

People Estimated Eligible for the Registry

  • 360,000 building occupants and others in the area
  • 91,000 rescue/recovery workers and volunteers
  • 57,00 residents south of Canal street
  • 15,000 children and staff in schools south of Canal street

Among eligible enrollees:

  • 83% were building occupants who evacuated their workplaces
  • 70% reported witnessing traumatizing events, such as seeing collapsing people or people injured or killed
  • 61% were adult residents who evacuated their homes
  • 51% reported being caught in the dust cloud
  • 13% reported a 9/11-related injury

Follow-up Surveys

Due to an overwhelming response to the Wave 1 survey (PDF), the Registry conducted follow-up surveys in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2020:

In 2020, the Wave 5 survey was sent out with a focused effort to reach millennials who were registered as enrollees by their parents or guardians in 2003.

By looking at responses to health questions over time and matching the information to other health registries, we can learn about the long-term health effects of 9/11. Based on information gathered in these surveys, the Registry has published over 150 research papers.

The Registry’s research is public and have helped inform new policies and treatments. Our annual reports include information on the Registry’s current activities and accomplishments, as well as details on recent findings about the health consequences of 9/11.