Project Summary
Waste Transfer Stations
Transportation and Traffic
Asthma and Air Pollution
Air Quality
Water Quality
Youth Participation and Leadership Program

The South Bronx Environmental Policy & Health Study has contributed to our understanding of air quality in the project area by using a mobile laboratory placed in a van to take measurements of various pollutant concentrations. This work is being carried out by the Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine. The data collected up to date are available online at: <a href="" ,="" target="_blank"> .

In addition to those measurements, ICIS examined air quality data in Bronx County provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Daily values for criteria pollutants in New York City area are available online at DEC’s web page: <a href="" ,="" target="_blank"> . The DEC data analyzed for the project provide an overview of air quality in Bronx County, and refer to the period 1996-2000. The data were collected by the monitoring stations listed in Table 1, below.

Table 1. NYS DEC Air Quality Sampling Station Location Information

Station ID Location Height Above
Within Study
709403 IS 155 470 Jackson Ave. 15 meters Yes
709405 Morrisania, 1225-57 Gerard Ave. 16 meters Yes
709406 New York Botanical Garden, 200th St. at Southern Blvd. 16 meters No
709407 IS 52 681 Kelly St., off 156th St. 15 meters yes
709408 IS 74 730 Bryant Ave 15 meters yes
709409 PS 154 333 E. 135th St. 15 meters yes

All but one of these stations are within the project area. The only air quality monitoring station in Bronx County that is not within the study area is the station that measures carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations. The pollutants included in the report are those that are defined for ambient air quality under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and include carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM10), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Lead is not included. The standards for the NAAQS pollutants are given in Table 2, below. The data analyzed consist of 24 hourly measurements per day for each pollutant. These values were averaged to obtain a daily value for each pollution measurement. In addition, the maxima and minima for each pollutant were identified with the exception of  particulate matter (PM10), for which only one daily measurement is provided every six days of the year. These measurements are explained in greater detail below.

Federal Clean Air Act and Amendments

Air Pollutant Standard Primary Averaging Time
Carbon monoxide 9 ppm
35 ppm
8 hours
1 hour
Lead 1.5 ug/m3 3 months
Nitrogen oxides 90.05 ppm 1 year
Ozone 0.08 ppm 8 hours
Particulate Matter (PM) - 10 microns 50 ug/m3
150 ug/m3
1 year
24 hours
Particulate Matter (PM) - 5 microns 15 ug/m3
65 ug/m3
1 year
24 hours
Sulfur dioxide 0.03 ppm
0.14 ppm
0.50 ppm
1 year
24 hours
3 hours

Source: EPA, available online at:

Average values for CO concentrations are shown in Figure 1. Although there are important variations for year to year, the daily averages and maximum one-hour average values are consistently below the standard established by EPA.

Figure 1

Figure 2 compares yearly averages of NO2 measurements taken by DEC stations during 1996-2000 and compares them to the EPA standard.

Figure 2

Figure 3 provides daily average, maxima and minima values for ozone concentrations throughout 1999. These values are compared to the 1-hour average standard set by EPA. As shown, the standard is sometimes exceeded during the summer months.

Figure 3

Figure 4 shows the yearly averages for SO2 concentrations and compares them to the EPA annual standard. SO2 has a strong seasonal variation, with concentrations being higher in winter. This is the result of fuel combustion in the winter months from space heating activities. As shown in the figure, the standard was not exceeded during this period.

Figure 4

The results for particulate matter (PM2.5) are shown in Figure 5. Annual averages for the year 2000 are compared to EPA annual standard. The comparison shows the standard was not met in that year.

Figure 5

The comparison of the pollutant concentrations with the EPA standards indicates that carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM10), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) are consistently below the established standards. Ozone (O3) concentrations sometimes exceed the 1-hr standard during the summer months. Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) exceeds the annual standard at some stations but not the 24-hr standard. Given these results it appears that ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) are the pollutants of most concern in Bronx County.

The full analysis is available in the Phase I report, Chapter 4: Characterization of Ambient Air Quality in the South Bronx. Click here to see it.
*You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file. To download it for free just click here.

A glossary of useful terms related to air quality is available here.

Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems
Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
New York University
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012