One sign of anxiety neurosis -- a condition with which this writer, being a New Yorker, has been diagnosed -- is worrying too much about things that don't matter, sometimes at the expense of addressing more serious problems. NYC's public health policy is driven by the condition.
Take, for example, the Department of Health's new requirements that sushi restaurants and others freeze several kinds of fish before serving them raw.
The new guidelines go into effect next month. Their purpose is to guard against parasites, which are disgusting -- and irresistible fodder for the worried. They're also very rare in sushi restaurants in the United States, according to a review published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, a leading journal in the field.
While most sushi is frozen at some point before hitting your restaurant plate, the new rules are overkill, leading to headaches for high-end chefs serving fresh fish. These are the very chefs who take the most care -- who wants to risk serving a roundworm to a 1 Percenter with his Masa omakase dinner?
Then there's the de Blasio administration proposal to list sodium levels on menus. Some studies show that including calorie counts on menus doesn't always lead us to make healthier choices.
Meanwhile, it's the season of air-quality warnings. It's helpful to know when to stay indoors, but air pollution, which contributes to 6 percent of deaths in NYC, needs to be addressed.
A report by the American Lung Association gave the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island Fs on ozone levels, suggesting that people who live in those boroughs are at risk for worsened asthma, heart and lung diseases, low birth-weight babies and overall trouble breathing.
As bad as that sounds, the good news is that air quality in the city has been improving; the Bloomberg administration phased out much of the most polluting heating oil in our buildings, an effort that Mayor Bill de Blasio has continued.
Yet the mayor has shunned congestion pricing, which would ease pollution by reducing traffic and funding more public transportation. NYC, let's get a grip on our food issues, and use that energy to clean up our air so we can take a much-needed deep breath -- one of the best ways to relieve anxiety.
Liza Featherstone lives and writes in Clinton Hill.