Changes To Regulations Saving Nearly 800 Lives A Year, Mayor Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)Mayor Michael Bloomberg says New York City’s air is the cleanest it has been in a half-century.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, Bloomberg said Thursday that the city’s Clean Heat program — which forced large buildings to switch from using thick, heavily polluting oil to natural gas — has reduced toxic soot in the air by 23 percent in four years and has had an even more astounding impact on sulfur dioxide.

“We reduced the amount of sulfur dioxide, a major lung irritant linked to serious respiratory diseases, in our air by 69 percent,” the mayor said.

Bloomberg made the announcement at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers, citing the city’s Community Air Survey, as part of a week of climate-related events.

He said the city’s Health Department estimates “that cleaner air is saving nearly 800 lives a year in our city.”

More: City Air Quality Maps

“Air pollution poses a major threat to the health of all New Yorkers, but especially young children, seniors and those with chronic heart and lung disease,” city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a news release. “Switching to cleaner heating fuels is contributing to dramatic improvements in the air quality of New York City and will help all of us stay healthier.”

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