WASHINGTON (CN) - After published studies showed a link between exposure to dust from the collapsed World Trade Center and breast cancer, the Department of Health and Human Services added breast cancer to its list of WTC-related medical conditions in its health program.
In the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, evidence has mounted that survivors and responders to the World Trade Center collapse were exposed to PCBs from dust in the area, and there is a link between the exposure and breast cancer.
Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services added certain cancers to its list of World Trade Center-related health conditions in its health program.
In a regulation published Wednesday, the department added cancer to the list after reviewing studies that link PCB exposure with breast cancer.
PCBs and other toxic substances found at the World Trade Center are known as "endocrine disruptors," and breast cancer risks are related to hormonal factors.
The department noted that a recent study showed PCBs enhanced the spread of breast cancer cells.
Studies also have shown that working in cycles that disrupt natural circadian rhythms has links to cancer in humans. Many workers involved in the clean up of the WTC site worked long shifts.
People who were exposed to PCBs or experienced sleep disruption as a result of working at the World Trade Center may be certified for breast cancer treatment.
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