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Study: a trip to the subway in New York may increase the risk of cancer

Exhaust fumes that produce MTA diesel locomotives in the New York subway pollute the air and can be dangerous for passengers, according to the study, which writes Daily News.

Фото: Depositphotos

Operating a passenger subway train “is like putting your head under the exhaust pipe of a car,” said Eric Legel, a former train operator.

“When you spend eight hours a day on the subway, you get a black runny nose. Even if you spent that time in the token booth, ”said one MTA employee.

Working MTA trains emit so much diesel gas that the metro platforms contain twice as much carbon diesel pollution than in the air above the ground, said George Thurston, a professor at the Medical School at New York University.

Harmful to health soot from diesel exhaust trains for decades accumulated in the subway tunnels, but the MTA does not plan to abandon the use of diesel trains, and plans to introduce trains on hybrid diesel-electric engines.

“Expression:“ Falling into the hole, stop digging ”. MTA didn’t stop buying - they continue to buy these diesel trains, ”says Thurston.

Passengers on the subway line L have been smelling badly in the last weeks. Some people were hospitalized. They said that the poisonous smell comes from the old tank gas station, which is located nearby.

But long-term exposure to diesel fumes can be a big risk for the deterioration of the health of train drivers and subway workers.

"The pollution doesn't go anywhere - it just settles," says Thurston.

“Trains that pass through areas where pollution has accumulated pick up the settled particles. In fact, particles that have been there for decades rise in the metro, and they are in the air again, ”the expert says.

How diesel fuel emissions affect machinists and subway workers is unknown.

“We think this environment is causing our guys asthma,” said Earl Phillips, director of safety for transportation workers' Local 100, the largest metro union.

“We receive a lot of complaints from workers on the trains. They say the exhaust turns their eyes red and gets sick, ”Phillips said.

But Local 100 failed to prove in court the relationship between diesel fuel emissions and environmental pollution with high mortality rates among metro workers.

In 2012, MTA purchased 28 new locomotives for the Metro, which were supposed to reduce pollution. Operators of new diesel trains must now wear respirators.

“People literally call trains a gas chamber because the exhaust is so stifling,” one MTA employee told about the new R156 trains.

“This is really unpleasant. The smell on these trains can cause nausea and irritate the eyes. I don’t know how the guys manage them, ”said Legel.

According to him, when the R156 train was just launched, people who were above the metro station called 911 complaining about the smell of burning.

At the same time, MTA cannot use electric trains in the subway, as the batteries for powering them are too heavy, explained the MTA representative, Shems Tapek, adding that the company is studying the possibility of using “hybrid” diesel electric trains.

Another source of pollution is steel dust, which is raised by subway cars.

Columbia University's Stephen Chillrud conducted a study in 1999 in which he found that subway air contained particles of iron, chromium, and manganese - likely from steel dust.

“There is no research on how exposure to such dust affects health in the long term,” Chillrud said.

At the same time, the National Cancer Institute determined that prolonged exposure to chromium particles may lead to a higher risk of lung cancer.

Thurston noted that it is difficult to get rid of such pollution, as the subway is poorly ventilated. He believes that MTA should install specialized filters in the metro to reduce the risk to health.

According to Tarek, the MTA has air quality controls on the metro, and any reports of heavy pollution are immediately investigated.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our number one priority,” Tarek said. He said there are “strict protocols” for the operation of operated trains and that the MTA is committed to limiting the exposure of passengers and workers to pollutants.

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