NEW YORK — Peppermint oil treatment will help protect people from harmful levels of ozone-depleting benzene and other toxins that are commonly found in the air in parts of the city that are being developed as a new high-tech metropolis.
New York City is planning to get the treatment from a company that has already developed similar products for people who live near the city’s major pollution hotspots.
The city is also developing a program to test the oil for ozone levels.
But it’s not clear whether the new treatment will prevent harmful levels or simply help mask those levels.
New Yorkers living near the Great Lakes, a major source of ozone pollution, are among those targeted by the oil treatment.
The oil will be used in the city to prevent the harmful chemicals from reaching the lungs.
It’s also a potential tool for those who live farther from cities with heavy concentrations of benzene, a neurotoxin that causes skin rashes and eye irritation.
Benzene is the most common carcinogen in the U.S. and the world, but it’s also the most potent form of air pollution.
It can be emitted by cars, factories and power plants, as well as by vehicles and other machinery.
The U.N. has estimated that the United States is emitting about 6.5 million tons of benzenes a year, of which more than 2.5 billion tons are in the atmosphere.
Newly minted New York mayor Bill de Blasio says he has “no doubt” the oil will protect people who are exposed to harmful levels in the environment.
“We have a large community in our city that is heavily impacted by air pollution,” he said.
“I believe it is a great solution.”
A spokesman for the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said that the oil has been tested in the lab and showed levels of benzane that are lower than in the community.
“The New York State Health Department will be reviewing this proposal as soon as it is finalized,” the spokesman said.
He said the oil does not cause skin irritation and that it will be added to the city sewer system.
The health department said the city will make a decision about whether to continue with the plan when the city receives approval for the program.