Consequences of toxic disasters for rescue, recovery, and clean-up workers require integrated mental and physical health monitoring.
Bromet, E.~~Luft, B.~~~
Societies have an obligation to monitor and treat the health of workers participating in the clean-up of toxic disaster sites. Most of the research to date has focused on mortality and on mental or physical health, independent of one another. In this issue, Laidra et al. 1 present findings on the long-term well-being of Estonian men who assisted in the clean-up of the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Strikingly, 24 years later, these men, at an average age of 55, continued to have significantly more depressive and anxiety symptoms than controls, and were less likely to be employed and married and to describe their overall health as good.