Notes From the Neighborhood: Lappin Demands Clean Air Accountability

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In response to increased concerns about the air quality around the Second Avenue Subway construction, City Council Member Jessica Lappin has introduced a bill that would require the city's Department of Environmental Protection to monitor construction sites monthly and release data on potential health hazards.

Earlier this year, the MTA released a study that measured harmful pollutants and found that the subway construction was not creating hazardous conditions, but many residents have since complained that their respiratory problems tell a different story. Another spot check by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found elevated levels of silica, a carcinogen that targets the lungs, inside the tunnels.

"The MTA says the air is safe, but we need to know for sure," Lappin said in a statement. "Monthly testing by an outside agency would help us breathe a little easier."

The proposed legislation would require the DEP to post the monthly results of tests for irritants like particulate matter and sulfur dioxide, and if levels exceed safe benchmarks, the DEP commissioner would be legally required to take action to mitigate the problem.

Compiled by Megan Bungeroth and Josh Rogers

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