Manhattan Has the City's Worst Air Quality, Study Says

By Ben Fractenberg on August 18, 2010 9:31am | Updated on August 18, 2010 10:05am

A map released by the Department of Health shows levels of air quality throughout the city.
A map released by the Department of Health shows levels of air quality throughout the city.
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Department of Health

By Ben Fractenberg

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — A new study by the Department of Health shows summer air quality is the worst in densely populated areas with high traffic.

The study, which used data from summer 2009, showed Manhattan to have the worst air quality, especially in areas lots of skyscrapers like Midtown and lower Manhattan.

The study showed high concentrations of elemental carbon, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone, released primarily from vehicles and buildings.

“It’s important to remember that all New York Yorkers have a stake in improving the City’s air quality,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley in a release. “Exposure to the pollutants evaluated in this report can cause grave health problems, including cardiovascular and lung diseases, and premature death.”

The study also found high levels of so-called fine-particle pollutants – also called “PM2.5” – which can inflame airways, increasing the effects of heart and lung disease.

The report suggests increasing public transit efficiency and encouraging more bike riding as a way to reduce emissions.

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