Image via NYC DOT.

If there’s one thing that’s an unfortunate hallmark of North Brooklyn, it’s that we’re no stranger to environmental issues. 

North Brooklyn Neighbors, a local non-profit serving the community since 1994, recently teamed up with New York University Grossman School of Health to investigate the environmental effects of multiple industrial areas and worksites located near residential areas. Based on community input, they chose five key sites to study: Scheel Corporation; McGuinness Boulevard; United Transit Mix; the South 4th Street entrance ramp to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway; and the Satmar Matzah Bakery. 

Sampling took place from November 2020 to December 2021. The study ultimately determined that the results were “concerning, but not conclusive.” The type of sampling and testing performed cannot guarantee that the particular compound in the air definitely came from the facility near which they were testing (all sorts of emissions from other city activity can contribute), but the team stressed that the level of contaminants in the air is cause for concern, regardless of the source. 

“Every single air sample had levels of some type of volatile organic compound (VOCs), most frequently benzene, that were above the annual concentration as outlined in the New York State Annual Guideline Concentrations (NYS AGC),” the study ultimately found. “This is in line with Environmental Protection Agency (EP) estimate that 49% of New York City residents, as opposed to only 5% of the nationwide population, live in areas where levels of exposure to hazardous air pollutants— of which benzene is included— increase the cancer risk.”

To read the report in full, click here.

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