After the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center (WTC), nearly 3,000 people died and an estimated 250,000 to 400,000 people in the vicinity were affected. An estimated 40,000 people who responded to the disaster--including New York City Fire Department (FDNY) personnel and other government and private-sector workers and volunteers--were exposed to physical and mental health hazards. Concerns remain about the long-term health effects of the attack and about the nation's capacity to plan for and respond to health effects resulting from future disasters. Several federally funded programs have monitored the physical and mental health effects of the WTC attack. These monitoring programs include one-time screening programs and programs that also conduct follow-up monitoring. GAO was asked to assess the progress of these programs and examined (1) federally funded programs implemented by state and local government agencies or private institutions, (2) federally administered programs to monitor the health of federal workers who responded to the disaster in an official capacity, and (3) lessons learned from WTC monitoring programs. GAO reviewed program documents and interviewed federal, state, and local officials and others involved in WTC monitoring programs. This statement updates information GAO provided to Congress on September 10, 2005.
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