New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Developing Health Risks Caused By September 11, 2001

Team: 59

School: Las Cruces YWiC

Area of Science: Environmental Science


Proposal: When the World Trade Centers were attacked on September 11, 2001, many people risked their lives to save victims in the burning, collapsing buildings and toxins have taken a toll on the health of survivors. These toxins (asbestos, benzene, and particulate glass) have been shown to cause lung disease, cancer, and numerous health problems.
We are interested in studying this problem because the 9/11 attacks changed our nation and forever scarred victims and their families. We will use computer modeling to demonstrate how toxins in the dust caused diseases to occur in a higher rate among first responders as opposed to diseases occurring in responders not directly exposed to the 9/11 attacks.
We hope to show a clear correlation between the event and the health effects observed. We plan to use NetLogo to model a control population with normal rates of diseases and compare those to the rates of lung disease and cancer in first responders. We will be able to adjust variables to better understand the simulation and the simulated effects. Some examples of variables will include: whether they responded to the 9/11 crisis and inhaled dust , if they worked as search and rescue during the days that followed, and whether or not they wore a mask while digging through the rubble or while working during the collapse.
The health problems that the first responders are being afflicted with are not going away; on the contrary, as time progresses more first responders are being diagnosed.


Team Members:

  Marisa Salazar
  Jennifer Hu
  Arianna Martinez
  Analyssa Martinez
  Connie Hu

Sponsoring Teacher: Rebecca Galves

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