Thousands of tons of particulate matter were inhaled and ingested by rescue workers and the residents of New York City (NYC) after the attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001. This study examined the chemical and physical effects of dust from WTC, in addition to possible mutagenic evidence with in vitro methods and hopes to add credibility to the link between World Trade Center dust inhalation and cancer development. Fibroblast cells of the human lung (MRC-5 and WI-38) were exposed to concentrations of WTC dust from 1.25 to 250 ppm, to replicate exposure to WTC dust in in vivo lung systems. Proliferation and apoptosis were observed to explain the physical or chemical interactions between cells and particles that can decrease the viability of a cell or cause mutations. An Ames assay was utilized to identify the mutagenic effects that WTC dust might have on living systems. Mutations influenced by Salmonella typhimurium cells suggest that WTC dust is mutagenic. Examination by an Ames assay, uncovers the risks taken by rescue workers and other individuals exposed to the pollution by concentrations of this particulate matter following the collapse of the WTC. Though WTC contains a number of volatile and carcinogenic agents, it is possible that the sole physical presence of inhaled WTC within the lungs was enough to induce the health issues experienced by rescue workers.
Key words: Particulate matter, World Trade Center 9-11, mutagenicity, toxicity cell proliferation, apoptosis.
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