Lung Function Trajectories in World Trade Center-Exposed New York City Firefighters over 13 Years the Roles of Smoking and Smoking Cessation

Thomas K. Aldrich, Madeline Vossbrinck, Rachel Zeig-Owens, Charles B. Hall, Theresa M. Schwartz, William Moir, Mayris P. Webber, Hillel W. Cohen, Anna Nolan, Michael D. Weiden, Vasilios Christodoulou, Kerry J. Kelly, David J. Prezant

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26 Scopus citations


Background World Trade Center (WTC)-exposed Fire Department of the City of New York firefighters lost, on average, 10% of lung function after September 11, 2011, and >10% developed new obstructive airways disease. There was little recovery (on average) over the first 6 years. Follow-up into the next decade allowed us to determine the longer-term exposure effects and the roles of cigarette smoking and cessation on lung function trajectories. Methods We examined serial measurements of FEV1 from March 11, 2000, to September 10, 2014, among 10,641 WTC-exposed Fire Department of the City of New York firefighters with known smoking and body weight histories. Results The median number of FEV1 measurements during follow-up was 9; 15% of firefighters arrived at the WTC during the morning of September 11, 2001; and 65% never smoked. Firefighters arriving the morning of September 11, 2001 averaged lower lung function than did lesser exposed firefighters; this difference remained significant during most of follow-up (P 1 <lower limits of normal compared with those arriving between September 13, 2001, and September 24, 2001 (OR = 1.70, P 1 <lower limits of normal compared with never smokers (OR = 2.06, P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1419-1427
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016



  • firefighting
  • occupational lung disease
  • pulmonary function test
  • smoking
  • World Trade Center

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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