Feature

Firefighters ill

The week's news at a glance.

New York

Many New York firefighters who were engulfed by the smoke and dust that poured from the collapsing World Trade Center towers have developed chronic breathing problems, and as many as 500 may have to retire, health officials announced this week. Today, 358 firefighters and five emergency medical workers can still only handle light duty, or none at all, because of coughing, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. Many of the city’s 11,000-plus firefighters have told doctors they fear they could develop serious lung diseases or cancer from microfine dust, pulverized asbestos, and chemical fumes they inhaled. “We’re never going to know the full scale of what firefighters were exposed to on that day,” said Dr. David Prezant, the Fire Department’s deputy chief medical officer.

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