Some 9/11 firefighters may have higher heart risks now

Firefighters make their way through the rubble after two airliners crashed into the World Trade Center in New York bringing down the landmark buildings Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP file)

A new study suggests that firefighters who arrived early or spent more time at the World Trade Center site after the 9/11 attacks have a modestly higher risk of developing heart problems than those who came later or stayed less.

The research might have implications for any efforts to expand the list of health problems eligible for payment from a victim compensation fund.

The study can't prove that the 2001 disaster caused any heart problems, which were relatively uncommon.

But among the 9,800 firefighters studied, the risk of suffering a heart problem was 44% greater for those who arrived at the site before noon on Sept. 11 compared to firefighters who came hours or days later.

Results were published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open.