The Health Department and Queens College (CUNY) conduct the New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS) to evaluate how air quality differs across New York City. Since 2008, this program has studied how pollutants from traffic, buildings (boilers and furnaces) and other sources impact air quality in different neighborhoods.
Survey air pollution measurements are taken at about 100 city locations during each season.
Routine sites are spread around the city to capture different neighborhood characteristics, including in residential, commercial and industrial areas. Other sites were selected because they are near potentially high-emission locations. To better understand potential sources of emissions in low-income neighborhoods, an additional 15 environmental justice sites were also included.
Every survey site is monitored for a two-week period during each season. Monitors are mounted 10 to 12 feet off the ground on public light poles, on utility poles along streets and in some parks, as shown below.
The monitors use a small battery-powered pump and filters to collect air samples. After each two-week period, monitors are collected and taken to a laboratory for analysis.
Survey monitors check pollutants that cause health problems, such as fine particles, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, ozone and elemental carbon (a marker for diesel exhaust particles).
New York City air quality is improving, but our health impact estimates from 2015 to 2017 found that fine particle pollution alone each year caused:
For more information about the survey, outdoor air quality or health impacts of air pollution, see:
Most Recent Report: The New York City Community Air Survey: Neighborhood Air Quality
Survey-Related Scientific Publications
Health Department Studies of Air Pollution Health Effects