New York had some stiff competition from California, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey, in the order of competition, for having the worst air, according to EPA's data. The EPA's findings have taken into account emissions of 177 chemicals in 1999, the last year for which data was available. The agency is presently performing a parallel study based on the data of the 2002 emissions.
George Thurston, a professor of environmental medicine at New York University, said
"People living in polluted cities are at a higher lung cancer risk, and more people are noticing more cases of lung cancer in people who haven't been smokers, so the effects of environmental exposures are becoming more apparent."
New Yorkers' face a pronounced risk of developing cancer from air toxins and the risk is estimated to be 68 residents per million, with the national average being 41.5 per million. Manhattan residents breathe the worst air, with cancer risk, enhanced at 136 residents per million.