Construction to create the Second Avenue subway on New York City's Upper East Side - which temporarily stopped due to numerous complaints from residents reporting health problems - has resumed with promises from the MTA for less dust.
The MTA is working on digging three underground stations for the much-anticipated line along 2nd Avenue from 125th Street to the Financial District in Lower Manhattan, according to The New York Times. The long-awaited construction has been a nuisance to Manhattan Easter-siders due to excessive noise, powerful vibrations and respiratory health concerns.
The poor air quality from the smoke and dust created a large movement from residents to halt the project until a solution could be found.
"It's like gun powder that is going up in the air," Jean Schoenberger, who lives on East 70th street, told the news source before blasting was resumed. "It is a smoke cloud that is very pervasive."
The dust and particulate debris from blasting was coating those walking the streets - forcing them to cover their faces in an attempt to prevent inhalation. Respiratory problems became so common that doctors in the area termed it "the Second Avenue cough." Local residents with homes and apartments in the Upper East Side were unable to keep the dirt and dust from finding its way into their homes, regardless of whether they kept their windows shut.
"I don't want it to turn into a 9/11 situation where 5 to 10 years down the line we're sick," resident Donna Pressman said at a meeting of Community Board 8's Second Avenue Subway Task Force Committee on Tuesday, according to NBC New York.
The MTA has promised residents a reduction in excessive dust and explained numerous changes to the project, including smaller blasts, spraying extra water and using a curtain to soak it up. However, dust will still remain in the area regardless of reduction treatments. For this reason, homeowners concerned about potential illness due to poor air quality may wish to consider investing in a medical-grade home air purifier.
The IQAir HealthPro Plus provides air filtration for the home and will reduce residents' exposure to the poor air quality resulting from construction. Homeowners in the Upper East Side concerned about potential health problems should consider a home air purifier while construction is underway, especially as the project is not scheduled to be completed until 2016.