NEW YORK (Sputnik) — DHS noted that the mixture of gasses and particles are non-toxic and odorless,, and will be monitored by particle tracers throughout the subway system.
"This is a scientific experiment to gather data about how airborne material travels or spreads throughout the subway system," the statement said. "This includes knowing where it settles, and if any gets re-aerosolized by passing trains."
The goal is to gather data on the hypothetical behavior of airborne contaminants in the event they were released into the subway system, the DHS explained.
"This study is part of the Department’s ongoing commitment to preparedness and the shared responsibility of protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure," DHS Science and Technology Program Manager Donald Bansleben said in the statement.
Moreover, the results of the study will also help researchers understand airflow characteristics for smoke or unintentional spills of chemicals or fuels, and aid emergency teams in the development of evacuation, ventilation, and other incident-response strategies, the DHS pointed out.
The tests began on Monday and will continue through May 13.
The New York City subway system is one of the largest in the world with over 5.5 million riders taking the subway on an average weekday, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.