A new study will follow as many as 200,000 people exposed to ash and dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center to determine patterns of illness and recovery, a published report said.
New York City and federal health officials are finishing the details of the $20 million project, which they say would be the largest such study ever conducted, The New York Times reported Friday.
The registry, to be paid for by federal disaster relief money, will track the health of residents and employees in Lower Manhattan, rescue and recovery workers, people evacuated from their homes and passers-by who were near the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Researchers say the study will generate a broad picture of who was affected and how and provide information about patterns of illness and recovery.
"We will have enough people enrolled to evaluate whether there are long-term pulmonary effects associated with exposure," Polly Thomas, the assistant commissioner at the bureau of surveillance at the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told The New York Times.
"If there is an associated increase in asthma, heart attacks or post-traumatic stress, you need large numbers of people in different categories to see it," she said.
Some supporters of the project, including New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and several health experts, said, however, the delays in starting the study, first proposed last summer, would make collecting the data more difficult.