The program found that 52 percent of workers suffered from ear, nose, and throat ailments, 46 percent showed pulmonary symptoms, and 52 percent reported such mental health problems as post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their work in the WTC rubble.
"Our preliminary findings clearly demonstrate the need for the immediate screening of the WTC responders, as well as the provision of medical follow-up," said Dr. Robin Herbert, co-director of Mount Sinai Medical Center's screening program for World Trade Center workers.
More than 3,500 workers of the estimated 30,000 who worked at the ruins of the trade center have been examined under the program. The $12 million program has offered free medical screening to anyone who worked at ground zero. It is scheduled to conclude in July.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to ask for more money from President Bush to complete the program. Thomas Scotto, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, a police union, agrees the program needs funds from the federal government to finish costly exams.
"We're here like beggars, asking the federal government, 'Please come and help us,'" said Scotto.