NYC subway has filthiest air of all Northeast transit hubs: study

NYC subway has filthiest air of all Northeast transit hubs: study

February 10, 2021

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Riding the subway is no breath of fresh air.

And the least fresh oxygen in public transit across New York’s five boroughs can be found at the entrance to New Jersey, a new study has found.

Air at the Christopher Street PATH Station was found to have 77 times the normal concentration of “potentially dangerous particles” found in outdoor city air, researchers from the New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine wrote in the study, published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Straphangers on the underground platform at Christopher Street are thus breathing in oxygen comparable to “forest fires and building demolition,” the authors offered for comparison in a press release. 

Researchers surveyed a total of 71 stations in NYC, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC during morning and evening rush hours before the onset of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, acquiring over 300 air samples.

While “all the systems struggled,” Philadelphia came out on top with the cleanest system, Boston took second and DC third. New York was found to have the filthiest transit systems, with NYC’s subway less dirty only than the New York/New Jersey PATH system.  

The Environmental Protection Agency says daily exposure to air containing 35 micrograms per cubic meter of fine particle concentration can pose serious health hazards. PATH stations were found to have 392 micrograms; MTA stations tallied 251. 


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