Volume 17 • Issue 8 / July 16 - 22, 2004

Final push to sign up for W.T.C. Registry

By Elizabeth O’Brien

The city is making a concerted effort to enroll more residents in the World Trade Center Health Registry before the August 31 deadline.

To date, 47,000 people have signed up for the registry, which aims to track the physical and mental health consequences of the W.T.C. attack, according to Dr. Polly Thomas, an assistant health commissioner for the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Of that number, about 9,000 are residents, 20,000 are office building workers and passersby, and 16,000 are in a category including emergency and cleanup workers and news reporters, Thomas said.

The current num-bers fall short of the 200,000 people that officials had said they hoped to enroll in the registry. Even so, in a telephone interview Thomas said the city was “overwhelmingly pleased with the response to the registry.”

Thomas said the city was particularly focused on the estimated 100,000 people who received the most exposure to fine dust particles and other contaminants released in the collapse of the World Trade Center and subsequent fires. These include residents living south of Chambers St., people who fled damaged buildings, and rescue workers.

To recruit residents, city workers knocked on doors in two large Downtown apartment buildings, Thomas said, although she declined to say which buildings. The door-to-door campaign produced good results, she said, adding that some residents sat for an interview on the spot while others made phone appointments.

The city hopes that more parents will sign their children up for the registry. So far, 1,800 children are enrolled. Parents of children under 18 take the 30-minute telephone survey in the place of their kids. Students enrolled in Lower Manhattan schools who were not at school on the morning of Sept. 11 are still eligible to enroll, Thomas said. Residents who lived south of Canal St. on 9/11 but were not home that day are similarly eligible to enroll, Thomas said.

The study aims to track participants for 20 years, but the exact duration depends on available funding, officials have said. The data collected can also prove useful to outside researchers who use it to begin more detailed analyses, Thomas said.

In general, those eligible for participation in the registry include residents living south of Canal St., workers and passersby (defined as those who were in a building, on the street or on the subway south of Chambers St. on Sept. 11, 2001), students and staff at schools south of Canal St., rescue personnel and volunteers, including those who worked at Fresh Kills on Staten Island.

“The more people that sign up, the more power there is to do more detailed projects,” Thomas said.

For more information or to register, call 1-866-NYC-WTCR (1-866-692-9827). The deadline is August 31. All information will be kept confidential.


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