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Bad Breath(e): New Study Reflects Urgent Need to Green NYC’s Black Smoke

If you’ve been on the street in New York City — and it’s doubtful you’re able to avoid that, unless you use FreshDirect more than I do — then you’ve seen the black smoke belching, all Dickensian and foul-smelling and just-plain-awful-looking, from the chimneys of some of the city’s bigger buildings. The likelihood is that you’ve breathed it in, too. And while it would certainly be a great “whodathunk” story if we could tell you that somehow all that dense black smoke was good for you, this is one of those instances where the intuitive conclusion happens to be the right one — according to a new study by New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity, the soot-laden black smoke that is the main byproduct (along with heat) from so-called Number Four and Number Six Heating Oil is every bit as bad for you as it looks.

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