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Toxic Sites in North Brooklyn Charted Out in New Map

By Gwynne Hogan | July 27, 2016 5:31pm
 A new map charts toxins in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.
A new map charts toxins in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.
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Toxic City Map

GREENPOINT — Is your apartment above a toxic cesspool?

A map officially launched Wednesday charts out North Brooklyn's polluted sites, waste transfer facilities, and areas susceptible to flooding, in an effort advocates hope will raise awareness about the area's environmental issues.

"People need to understand where they live and how to protect themselves," said Allison Currier, an environmental organizer at Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, the group that developed the Toxic City Map

"The real estate market and the real estate developers, they're not going to tell people, 'Oh you're living on a toxic site,'" she said. "They're not going to tell people about that because they want people to buy the real estate."

The map compiles data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation and other state and city data and studies, charting out all state and federal Superfund sites, as well as other locations where historic pollution is being monitored.

That information is compiled with other health statistics, like elevated asthma rates in the area as well as other demographic information.

Large industrial areas in Greenpoint and Williamsburg were home to oil refiners, power plants, concrete and plastic factories that have lead to extreme pollution over decades, and many industrial businesses are still rooted there.

"[It] was never really meant to be residential," Currier said, though she noted the population of the area is still booming. "People don't realize that where they're living can be harmful to their health."

In April the state released a health study that found no elevated risk of cancer or birth defects in an area near the Newtown Creek but environmental advocates called it a "disgrace" and have since urged researchers to take a deeper dive into health concerns in the area.