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Authorities test harmless gas release in subways

Tuesday was the first of three days of gas testing of the city subway stations.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Police and scientists from the federal Department of Energy were busy Tuesday studying how a poison gas attack or accident might affect the New York City subway system.

Not that anyone expects any such thing. It is merely an investigation into risks of airborne contaminants if there was an attack or accident using chemical, biological or radiological agents.

It marked the first of three consecutive days of the testing and involves subway stations in all five boroughs between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m..

“The NYPD works for the best but plans for the worst when it comes to potentially catastrophic attacks such as ones employing radiological, contaminants or weaponized anthrax,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

The tests are being carried out by the police and personnel of the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y.

The federal scientists are releasing modest amounts of harmless, colorless gas in subways and on streets to trace the airflow both above and below street level.

The experiment will be paid for by a $3.4 million grant from the federal government.

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