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Former students from school near Ground Zero start to experience effects of toxic dust

LOWER MANHATTAN — Stuyvesant High School is just a few short blocks from Ground Zero— and now former students are starting to experience the deadly and debilitating effects of the toxic dust they were exposed too.

Several of them spoke out at an event across from the Stuyvesant Thursday afternoon to raise awareness for the World Trade Center Health Program.

"Stuyvesant in particular returned back to school very soon after 9/11 to a building that had not been adequately cleaned, and to a neighborhood that was filled with smoke,” former student Lila Nordstrom said.

Only 80,000 of the estimated 400,000 people who were in Lower Manhattan after 9/11 are taking advantage of the free healthcare.

"I really only thought of these funds as being used by and available to first responders,” former student Shoshana Dornhall, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma several years later, said.  “It had not occurred to me it would be available to me, and residents, and teachers, and everyone here for the events of 9/11.”

Children who breathed in the ash and fumes saturating the air of Lower Manhattan after the terrorist attack on 9/11  show early signs of heart disease risk, according to a recent study. Researchers analyzed 123 children who came in direct contact with the “cloud” of toxic debris. They had elevated levels of artery-hardening fats in their blood compared to other children.