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Severely Salted Streets Stump Midtown Residents, Raise Air Quality Concerns

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some Manhattan residents are growing concerned over an extraordinary amount of salt poured on one particular New York street.

The spring season is quickly approaching but a rather annoying, and potentially dangerous, reminder of winter has been causing an issue for many living in Midtown.

Salt - and lots of it – was poured out all over 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues over the last week.

Residents who spoke with CBSN New York's John Dias said they actually thought it was snow at first, but quickly realized that wasn't the case.

The new question New Yorkers in the area have is: who did it?

The HBO show "The Undoing" just wrapped up filming on the street and many neighbors suspect film crews salted the area to get the trucks out, in case of another snowstorm.

Others believe it was the city's Department of Sanitation that's responsible for the excessive salting. Either way, they have been fearing it was unhealthy to be walking on and breathing in.

CBS2 has detailed the breathing issues that can arise from exposure to chemicals like potentially dangerous chemicals. Lung specialist Dr. Len Horovitz told CBS2 that road salt is included in the chemicals that triggered an air quality alert in early February.

MORE: Sudden Warm Up Causing Air Quality Issues Across The Tri-State

"The sensitive groups are the very young, infants, and the elderly," Dr. Len Horovitz explained.

"This can be dangerous if it goes on if you're an asthmatic, have pulmonary disease… this can lead to hospitalization."

A spokesperson for the Department of Sanitation said on Friday that the agency does not spread salt on sidewalks.

After workers examined the piles of salt covering 55th Street, press secretary Dina Montes added "it appears that this salt was mixed with a liquid that caused it to glop up. We've never seen this happen with our mix of rock salt and calcium chloride."

Sanitation officers have reportedly reached out to a local district garage who has been charged with cleaning the sidewalk before the weekend arrives.

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