New Yorkers can breathe a little easier — air pollution in the city is at the lowest level ever recorded, new data from the city Health Department shows.
The amount of particulate matter in the air — considered the most dangerous urban pollutant because it can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, contributing to lung and heart disease — has fallen 18% since 2009, according to the report set to be released Thursday.
Sulfur dioxide saw the biggest drop — 84% over seven years — after the city tightened heating oil rules.
“We’ve seen air pollution improvements happening across the city, due to a lot of federal, state and local programs that have reduced pollution,” said report author Iyad Kheirbek.
“We know that improvements in air quality reduce risks of … asthma emergency department visits, cardiovascular hospitalizations, things like heart attacks and stroke.”
Nitrogen dioxide levels also fell 23% through 2015, the most recent year full data is available. Nitric oxide declined 28%, and black carbon 18%.
The worst pollution levels for particulate matter were in Midtown and neighborhoods with both heavy car traffic and a lot of buildings burning fossil fuels had the dirtiest air, including areas in Manhattan and part of the Bronx.
The cleanest air for particulate matter was in the Rockaways and Broad Channel.
Air pollution levels in the city dropped in part because of federal rules regulating emissions from power plants — which could be axed under President Trump.