Cheap Lube Costs Lives in NYC

Hidden away in the basement of many big New York City buildings is a dirty secret that could be costing New Yorkers their health, even their lives: boilers that burn cheap and dirty oil.

A new report from New York University's Institute for Political Integrity says the city could save up to 188 lives annually if landlords quit using "residual oil," the sooty leftovers from petroleum, to heat their buildings.
In its place, the authors recommend cleaner natural gas.

The study, "Residual Risks," says that soot and toxins from the cheap oil are polluting the air and the windpipes of people who live and work near the buildings. The oil, called #6, is the thickest and dirtiest grade you can buy -- generally the stuff left over after the distillation of petroleum. The pollution it causes "can travel deep into the lungs... and even slip directly into the bloodstream," according to the authors. The soot has been linked to heart disease and asthma, which already occur disproportionately in poor, urban areas.