Online Program

Cleaner fuel oil in New York City: A local assessment of health and climate co-benefits

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Jaime Madrigano, ScD, MPH, Columbia University, New York, NY
Nada Petrovic, Columbia University, New York, NY
Peggy Shepard, West Harlem Environmental Action, New York, NY
Cecil Corbin-Mark, West Harlem Environmental Action, New York, NY
Jalonne L. White-Newsome, BS, MS, PhD, Climate and Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, DC
Patrick Kinney, Columbia University, New York, NY
Background: Climate change is a complex global challenge, however, mitigation and adaptation policies must be implemented at a local level. As part of New York City (NYC) sustainability planning, a local law has been published that will require all boilers in NYC to burn low sulfur #2 fuel oil or natural gas, rather than #4 or #6 fuel oils. The city estimates that this will reduce the amount of fine particles emitted from heating buildings by 63% and reduce carbon dioxide by approximately one million metric tons. Although certain climate mitigation actions are more likely to improve health outcomes for communities that bear a disproportionate share of the environmental burden, this has not been explicitly studied in prior co-benefits analyses. Objective: Given that certain neighborhoods in NYC (e.g. the Bronx) have among the highest rates of asthma in the country, we wanted to assess how full implementation of this rule would impact public health in specific neighborhoods. Methods: We performed a local (zip code level) health impact assessment of switching all residential boilers to #2 fuel oil by estimating the expected reduction in asthma hospitalizations in children. We quantified particulate emission (PM2.5) reductions in each zip code, used baseline population asthma hospitalization rates specific to each zip code, and used a concentration response factor derived from a study conducted within NYC. Results: We estimated that full implementation of this rule will prevent approximately 500 asthma hospitalizations each year. Over 65% of the hospitalization reductions will occur in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, although these neighborhoods do not have the largest emission reductions. Conclusions: Incorporating susceptibility and neighborhood population information into a health impact assessment can help quantify local benefits and address environmental justice concerns.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
Assess the health and climate co-benefits of a local policy. Demonstrate how local information can be applied to quantitative health impact assessments.

Keyword(s): Air Quality, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a trained epidemiologist and environmental health scientist. Among my scientific interests has been air pollution epidemiology, climate change and health, and vulnerability to environmental hazards.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.