Protecting worker and public health during responses to catastrophic disasters—learning from the World Trade Center experience

Source: David M. Newman, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 57, Issue 11, November 2014
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From the abstract:
Despite incremental lessons learned since 9/11, responder and community health remain at unnecessary risk during responses to catastrophic disasters, as evidenced during the BP Deepwater Horizon spill and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Sandy. Much of the health harm that occurs during disaster response, as distinct from during the disaster event itself, is avoidable. Protection of public health should be an integral component of disaster response, which should “do no additional harm.” This commentary examines how challenges and gaps the World Trade Center response resulted in preventable occupational and environmental health harm. It proposes changes in disaster response policies to better protect the health of rescue and recovery workers, volunteers, and impacted worker and residential communities.