Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Breathing in New York City's air may be hazardous to your health . . .

. . . if this report in the New York Daily News is to be believed.

Big Apple air is a bizarre brew of bacteria, pollen, clothing fiber, fungus, tire rubber, dead skin cells, cooking fat and carbon emissions.

The truth of exactly what New Yorkers breathe comes courtesy of air expert Bill Logan, who grabbed a “spore sucker” of his own design and joined the Daily News for a tour of the city.

. . .

Picturesque Brooklyn Heights — the corner of Joralemon St. and Garden Place — had the most airborne fat, perhaps from the neighborhood’s many restaurants, Logan said. The city’s first suburb was also full of organic plant matter, such as fungi and bacteria that act as “nature’s recycler.” The area — near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway — also had a good amount of tire rubber in the air, as well as cotton fiber, silica glass and powdery mildew.

“Move out of New York if you want to avoid that,” said Rifkie Stark, 28, who comes to Brooklyn Heights for work every day.

Meanwhile, in Williamsburg, there was hair in the air. The corner of Bedford Ave. and N. Seventh St. was the only place in the city where samples revealed bits of human hair — and quite a bit of it, Logan said. Skin cells and tiny “glassy and spherical” paint particles were linked back to a nearby nail salon.

The sample also included molds, rusts, the fungus ganoderma and “numerous” pollen grains. Tire rubber and carbon were evident, but not overwhelming.

In keeping with the “hipster sample,” there were also a fair amount of natural fibers, including blue and green cotton and a silk thread.

On Chinatown’s narrow streets, airborne starch dominated the samples. Logan said the starch was likely the result of cooking rice and noodles and from detergents at some laundermats.

At the corner of Mott and Pell Sts., Logan’s spore sucker also pulled in some fat molecules and phytoliths, a kind of mineral plant secretion. The area’s numerous clothing stores emitted many tiny fibers, including one sizable, bright red polyester thread.

At 43rd St. and Eighth Ave., a busy stretch near Times Square and the Port Authority, cars and people have left their mark.

Logan’s air samples included “lots of carbon” from bus and automobile exhaust. Soot, shreds of tire rubber and a few drops of fat were mixed in with some plant diversity, including spores, ganoderma — a decay fungus — and “lots of pollen grains.”

The other big mark in midtown: many dead skin cells of every imaginable pigment.

There's more at the link.

Frankly, that information simply disgusts me.  I don't even want to visit - much less live in - a place where I'm forced to constantly inhale such pollutants in such large quantities.  It sounds like it's worse for your lungs than smoking!  The more I read articles like this, the more glad I am that I don't live and/or work in an overcrowded metropolitan area.  The fresher the air I breathe, the better I like it!


1 comment:

Ritchie said...

Just because it's not fit for human habitation doesn't mean nobody lives there. Been there, got away.