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Lower respiratory symptoms associated with environmental and reconstruction exposures after Hurricane Sandy
  • Published Date:
    Jan 21 2018
  • Source:
    Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 12(6):697-702
  • Language:

Public Access Version Available on: June 01, 2019 information icon
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  • Description:

    In a population with prior exposure to the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster, this study sought to determine the relationship between Hurricane Sandy-related inhalation exposures and post-Sandy lower respiratory symptoms (LRS).


    Participants included 3,835 WTC Health Registry enrollees who completed Wave 3 (2011–2012) and Hurricane Sandy (2013) surveys. The Sandy-related inhalational exposures examined were: 1) reconstruction exposure; 2) mold or damp environment exposure; and 3) other respiratory irritants exposure. LRS were defined as wheezing, persistent cough, or shortness of breath reported on ≥1 of the 30 days preceding survey completion. Associations between LRS and Sandy exposures, controlling for socio-demographic factors, post-traumatic stress disorder, and previously reported LRS and asthma were examined using multiple logistic regression.


    Over one-third of participants (34.4%) reported post-Sandy LRS. Each of the individual exposures was also independently associated with post-Sandy LRS, each having approximately twice the odds of having post-Sandy LRS. We found a dose-response relationship between the number of types of Sandy-related exposures reported and post-Sandy LRS.


    This study provides evidence that post-hurricane clean-up and reconstruction exposures can increase the risk for LRS. Public health interventions should emphasize the importance of safe remediation practices and recommend use of personal protective equipment.

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