MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A study on the short term effects of residual dust from the World Trade Center on rats showed some nerve damage, according to Winthrop-University Hospital Researchers.
The pilot study showed that exposure to dust from the debris of the terrorist attacks "affected the slowing of the conduction within the nerve," said Dr. Marc Wilkenfeld, Chief of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Winthrop-University Hospital.
Study On Exposure To 9/11 Dust Shows Nerve Damage In Rats
"This is the first evidence that there is a possibility that neuropathy [nerve damage] is associated with exposure to World Trade Center dust," Wilkenfeld said.
He stressed that the study does not prove that nerve damage will occur in emergency workers who responded to the 9/11 disaster, but the findings suggest that they could be at an increased risk.
"Currently no one is looking for nerve damage in responders and our study suggests that we should," Wilkenfeld said. "It is vital that we carefully monitor how these men and women who worked there have been affected and will be affected for years to come. However, this issue has never been studied."
Wilkenfeld is calling for funding for additional studies.
John Feal, President and Founder of the FealGood Foundation, said in wake of the study, he will push to add nerve damage to the Zadroga Bill.
"Years ago we had to prove that 9/11 got us sick, we no longer have to prove that, they have to prove that 9/11 didn't get us sick and they're going to have to have the burden of proof that 9/11 didn't cause neuropathy," Feal said. "I look forward to the challenge and I think we'll be successful in getting this added to the Zadroga Bill."
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