Last week, the New York City Council made history and voted to pass a bill that will phase out the use of No. 4 heating oil by 2025 for schools and City-owned buildings, and by 2027 for private properties. This newly passed legislation fast-tracks the 2030 deadline for private and public buildings established by Local Law 38 in 2015. Intro 0470, authored and introduced by New York City Council Member James F. Gennaro, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, will also raise the minimum and maximum penalties for burning a prohibited fuel oil after the phase-out dates.

Fuel No. 4 is currently the most polluting type of heating oil still used in New York City. The heating oil contains high levels of sulfur, which contributes to air pollution. When burned, it releases harmful pollutants and particulate matter into the atmosphere, which can adversely impact both human health and environmental health. The previous most polluting oil, Fuel No. 6, was banned by Local Law 43 of 2010, which was also authored by Gennaro.

“No. 4 heating oil adds about 120,000 pounds of lung-damaging fine particulate matter into the air annually. Removing these harmful emissions will prevent deaths, lifelong respiratory illnesses, and emergency room visits for asthma attacks every year, Gennaro said.

The pollutants released by burning Fuel No. 4 heating oil can exacerbate respiratory problems, such as asthma and other lung diseases. And prolonged exposure to these fumes can cause a host of health problems, including cardiovascular issues and even cancer.