The continued presence of industrial facilities and busy roads in our neighborhood and a growing population has meant that increasingly, traditionally polluting sites are located next to homes. Residents have been reporting seeing and smelling fumes in specific locations in the neighborhood and have voiced concerns about the health and safety of the air.
Along with NYU Langone Health, North Brooklyn Neighbors undertook a project to sample and analyze the air of five key sites located in our neighborhood. Local sites of concern included the Scheel Corporation, McGuinness Boulevard, United Transit Mix, the South 4th Street entrance ramp to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and the Satmar Matzah Bakery. In general, levels of many air contaminants are higher than desired for public safety.
Every single air sample had levels of some type of volatile organic compound (VOC), most frequently benzene, that were above the annual concentration as outlined in the New York State Annual Guideline Concentrations (NYSAGC). Carbon tetrachloride was found in 90% of samples at levels that exceeded the guidelines, and a list of other contaminants found at levels exceeding the guidelines, as well as their frequency, can be found below.
Air Sampling Results
Additionally, the majority of samples had levels of fine particulate matter that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual standard. Sources of particulate matter in urban environment most commonly include vehicle exhaust and the burning of fossil fuels.
For more information, read the full report which includes sections on the specific contaminants found at each of the five targeted sites, download the report or dig into the data. Or suggest the next location for in-depth air monitoring here.