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DHS to conduct bioterrorism drill in subway system by releasing harmless gas

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MIDTOWN, Manhattan —  The Department of Homeland Security will release harmless gases into the subway system as part of a bioterrorism drill.

The "non-toxic inert gas material" will be released into the air at Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and Penn Station.

Officials say there is currently no credible threat against the city's subway system.

Subway riders PIX11 spoke to had no idea about the drill but were all for it.

"Anything for the safety of the American people, whatever it take," Floyd Hartfield told PIX11. "I'm fine with that."

There will be a single 20 minute release period of tracers in the big transit hubs, followed by a sampling of the air at approximately 55 subway stations around Manhattan over a four hour window.

That's when commuters might see the unusual equipment be put to the test, along with experimenters in safety vests and badges.

"It is a good idea," subway rider Adil Bhanji said. "Because our safety comes first and if there's a sacrifice we have to make to be safe, it's worth it."

The head of the MTA said in a statement, "these inert gases are safe for our customers and employees and the entire test will be performed with no impact on them and no interruption to service."

The MTA says the six million people who ride the subway each day will be safe and secure during the drill, which ends on Friday, May 13th.