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A study found that tunnel air is heavily polluted with dangerous pollutants in the United States

Researchers from the Grossman School of Medicine at New York University conducted one Study of air quality You breathe Subways to several cities in the United States It concluded that passengers and workers are more likely to develop long-term illnesses such as asthma, lung cancer and heart disease due to the quality of the air that contains concentrations of dangerous metals and toxins ranging from two to seven times the amount of fresh air that is brought in.

I am studying Funded by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and published in Environmental Health Perspectives, Check the air you breathe in the basement One of the largest transportation systems Neil Northeast New York – New Jersey, Washington, Filadelfia e Boston.

consequences

The researchers took More than 300 air samples During peak hours there are approximately 70 stations. According to the results, the PATH-New York and New Jersey system measured particle concentrations up to 392 micrograms per cubic meter. Air at MTA terminals New York It measures up to 251 micrograms per cubic meter. Metro, prof Washington, Has the next highest level, at 145 mcg per cubic meter. The researchers said Boston stations had an air measurement of 140 micrograms per cubic meter, while Philadelphia had the cleanest system, measuring 39 micrograms per cubic meter.

The situation in New York

Than it appeared The New York subway system is the system that contains more air pollutants than other systems The South Capitol station was among the five worst stations monitored by researchers, much to the surprise of even city authorities. Metro workers who spend several hours in the underground tunnels are affected the most by the poor air quality. “We are clearly concerned,” said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York, noting that we are “fully committed to protecting the health and safety of our workers. We will investigate this, reach conclusions and, if necessary, create an appropriate action plan to address it.”.

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Cities are looking for cover

Other cities cited in the study are also working on coverage to improve underground air quality. to me Washington, Metro upgrades its air filtration system Of all 308 air conditioning systems. “The metro regularly tests the air quality in tunnels, stations, and station managers’ kiosks, and the most recent tests conducted last fall showed air quality within OSHA’s (the body that deals with workplace safety in the United States) occupational exposure limits.”Ian Janita, a spokesman for the company that operates public transportation in Washington, said. Additionally, work is underway for more stringent filtration testing in railroad cars.

Air ventilation system improvements and renewals are underway At Back Bay station BostonSaid Lisa Battiston, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. “The health and safety of passengers and the workforce is a top priority for MBTA, including issues affecting ventilation and air quality within its terminals and in track areas.”Battiston said. The Transportation Authority of Southeastern Pennsylvania is also working to improve its systems. The air quality study began in early 2020 shortly before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, before the number of subway riders fell to an all-time low across the United States. Nevertheless, the results gave input to improving air filtration systems in tunnels and on board trains, as well as to limit the spread of viruses and other pathogens.

Researchers’ discoveries

At several stations on the public transportation system, researchers have found at least twice as many toxins as there are in the air in subway tunnels than outside. Of the elements present, iron and organic carbon particles make up three quarters of the pollutants present. In particular, it has been linked to an increased risk of developing asthma, lung cancer and heart disease, according to the study. “Our findings add to evidence that metros expose millions of passengers and transport personnel to high-level air pollutants and pose serious health risks over time.”David J. Jul, lead author of the study, said in a statement.

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