Study Examines Firefighters Post-9/11

By William Murphy

November 12, 2002

Two groups of private researchers are teaming up to study the overall well-being of city firefighters after Sept. 11.

The firefighters union and researchers from Cornell University and the Smithers Institute are to announce today that they will examine firefighters for stress, trauma, substance abuse or any other conditions stemming from Sept. 11.

The project will be headed by Cornell professor Samuel Bacharach, who also leads the R. Brinkley Smithers Institute for Alcohol-Related Workplace Studies.

The Smithers research group shares some functions with but is not directly tied to the Smithers Institute, which treats substance abusers.

Officials declined yesterday to discuss details of the study, but they said it also would attempt to go beyond Sept. 11 and "try to give a broad picture of the working life of New York City firefighters."

Many of the firefighters who worked at the World Trade Center have complained of chronic bronchial problems that has been called "World Trade Center cough."

Hundreds of firefighters have filed notices of claim against the city, saying they intend to sue for medical problems caused by the lack of proper filters to keep them from breathing toxins in the air.

The leadership of the two unions representing firefighters and superior officers has been lobbying to get free lifetime health monitoring for all firefighters who worked at the trade center.