Did you know that North Brooklyn’s industrial legacy left behind an alphabet soup of toxins – TCEPCBs, phthalates, benzene, and many other chemicals – that’s lingering beneath the surface in many sections of our hood?

On October 20, a beta release of the ToxiCity Map will be hosted at Sunview Luncheonette, located at 221 Nassau Ave., starting at 7 p.m.

Source: Neighbors Allied For Good Growth

To help inform the rest of us, Neighbors Allied For Good Growth (NAG) and Pratt Institute’s Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative teamed up to construct a map using publicly available data visualizing where the contaminants lurk.

For a sneak peek:

Greenpoint Oil Plume Map. Source: Riverkeeper

Low levels of exposure to some of these chemicals can trigger negative health effects, making this an important topic to study up on if you’re planning to settle down in the area, especially if you have children, as they are most susceptible to contact.

As a “toxic community,” we’re not alone: Tens of millions of people in the U.S. live within three miles of a Superfund Site, the most polluted of all land classifications.

In North Brooklyn, everyone lives within close proximity to multiple Superfunds, but thanks in part to an informed public, many Superfund and brownfield sites undergo remediation for both commercial and residential development.

Remediated development is not without its hazards, however. If you want an example, look no further than Google’s Mountain View campus, a remediated Superfund Site where employees breathed cancer-causing vapors inside the office for two months before anyone noticed.

Remediated Greenpoint soil. Photo: Aaron Simon

The bright side of all of this is that New York City’s drinking water is supplied from pristine Upstate watersheds, unlike our friends in the parched city of Los Angeles, who increasingly rely upon contaminated groundwater for hydration.

Breathe easy, North Brooklyn.



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  1. My sister brother and best friend all died of cancer at a young age. It may be better now but those of us born in the 40’s lost a lot of people who were too young to die.

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