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Letter from Public Advocate Bill de Blasio & Speaker Sheldon Silver on Air Quality Post-Sandy

Letter from Public Advocate Bill de Blasio & Speaker Sheldon Silver on Air Quality Post-Sandy

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Published by Bill de Blasio
As New York City transitions from emergency response to rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, airborne pollution remains a persistent concern. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Speaker Sheldon Silver have called on the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct rigorous monitoring of potential air quality contaminants.
As New York City transitions from emergency response to rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, airborne pollution remains a persistent concern. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Speaker Sheldon Silver have called on the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct rigorous monitoring of potential air quality contaminants.

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Published by: Bill de Blasio on Dec 11, 2012
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07/20/2013

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 Bill de BlasioPublic Advocate for the City of New York Assembly Member Sheldon SilverSpeaker, New York State AssemblyDecember 11, 2012Commissioner Carter H. Strickland, Jr.New York City Department of Environmental Protection59-17 Junction BoulevardFlushing, NY, 11373Dear Commissioner Strickland,Hurricane Sandy unleashed a deluge of pollutants into our air and water systems, and theDepartment of Environmental Protection has done a commendable job in assessing andcontaining many these potential health hazards. As New York City transitions from emergencyresponse to rebuilding, airborne pollution remains a persistent concern. The Department hasalready assessed air quality indicators relating to critical contaminants like asbestos, and we
applaud the Department’s monitoring efforts and public disclosure of these tests. However, we
are concerned that there are other air quality contaminants that pose similar threats to publicsafety and deserve similarly rigorous monitoring.First, we are concerned that airborne concentrations of mold and mildew will increasinglybecome a public health issue. Given the high degree of water damage and the limited ability forhome- and building-owners to control the degree of moisture in their structures, we arewitnessing the explosion of microbial growth in affected communities citywide. While it is thecollective responsibility of multiple City agencies to ensure that demolition and reconstructionactivity addresses potential mold growth, the Department of Environmental Protection must alsomonitor the prevalence of biological pollutants such as mold and mildew. This information willensure New Yorkers understand the health dangers of high concentrations of microbialcontaminants, and know how to protect themselves and prevent chronic illnesses like asthmafrom worsening.Second, there are a number of locations across the city where electrical restoration has not yetbeen completed, resulting in widespread and sustained use of generators. We are concerned thattheir heavy use is affecting air quality both inside and outside of buildings. Many of thesemodels are not intended for use in urban environments. In particular, in densely populated Lower

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