M.J. Ruzmyn Vilcassim, PhD, at the University of Alabama in Birmingham served as the study co-senior author.

Commuters have another reason to avoid packing themselves into subway stations. A new study, published online February 10 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, finds that New York City’s transit system exposes riders to more inhaled pollutants than any other metropolitan subway system in the Northeastern United States. Its neighbors also struggle with subterranean toxins, however.

For example, the Christopher Street Station underground platform on the PATH line connecting New Jersey and Manhattan reached up to 77 times the typical concentration of potentially dangerous particles in outdoor, above-ground city air. That's comparable to sooty contamination from forest fires and building demolition, according to study authors.

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