Three Bronx hospitals charged with violating toxic waste laws

The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says three Bronx hospitals have been cited for emitting chemicals that may cause childhood asthma or cancer.

The DEC says North Central Bronx Hospital released nitrogen oxide and ethylene oxide fumes into the air. And according to the agency, Bronx Psychiatric Center has been cited for releasing sulfur emissions. Montefiore Medical Center was also cited as the DEC says it too has emitted nitrogen oxide.

Nitrogen Oxide is a pollutant blamed for childhood asthma. The Bronx has one of the highest asthma rates in the nation. Last year, health department numbers show more Bronx kids spent time in the hospital for asthma, compared to the other boroughs. There were about 10 cases for every 1000 kids in the Bronx.

As for the other fume, ethylene oxide kills microorganisms when used as a sterilizer. It can also cause headaches, blurry vision and cancer.

So far, the three hospitals have not been fined. A spokesperson for Montefiore says they take these issues very seriously and are constantly working with the Environmental Protection Agency to properly address the issues. The other two Bronx hospitals, declined to comment.

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