A day after a town hall meeting was supposed to help Staten Islanders deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, residents there still have plenty of questions, like whether or not the air they're breathing is safe. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
For more than two weeks, what's left of the former Cedar Grove Beach Club was a dumping ground for the New York City Sanitation Department, a dropoff area for debris and wreckage Hurricane Sandy left behind.
Stewart Chambers lives right behind the old club. He said while the piles of trash have gotten smaller, he's worried the rubbish has left behind more than a bad odor.
"I'm thinking about, like, 9/11," he said. "They never told nobody then. They thought everybody was safe. They gave us these cheap masks like they did at 9/11, and people are dying of cancer from that now. So I'm worried about what's going to happen 10 years from now. Am I going to die from cancer?"
Chambers hoped to get that question answered at a town hall meeting for Hurricane Sandy victims Thursday night. New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley fielded several angry questions from panicked residents about the air quality.
"The risk to your lungs comes from indoor air. It comes from the dust and it comes from mold," Farley said. "If you are outdoors and there is construction going on and you're right there by the construction, exposed to dust, that is a risk as well, but the general outdoor air is not any different from the way it is pre-storm."
Health officials are urging residents to use masks while working inside their homes, but insist the air quality outside is safe. They said they will continue to monitor the air as the recovery continues.
Still, Chambers isn't buying it, and already complains of a sore throat and trouble breathing in the month since the storm hit.
"People have asbestos tiles, they have asbestos insulation in the houses that they never took it out, and it was floating in the water," he said.
Residents said they believe many of the homes in this area will eventually have to be knocked down. They worry that will bring a host of new health concerns once demolition begins.