Clean Air for Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh area has some of the dirtiest air in the nation. And its putting the health of local residents—and in some cases even their lives—at serious risk. This is unacceptable. Clean air is a right—not a privilege.
A Dangerous Haze
The Pittsburgh area has some of the dirtiest air in the nation. The metropolitan area ranks 6th in the nation for year-round soot pollution and the American Lung Association graded the county with an F for its overall air quality. This is putting the health of local residents--and in some cases even their lives--at serious risk.
Just about everyone has a friend or family member who struggles with asthma and air pollution drastically increases their likelihood of an asthma attack that could send them to the hospital. Additionally, research found that Allegheny County ranks in the top 2% of counties for cancer risk from pollution.
This is unacceptable. Clean air is a right—not a privilege.
Cleaning up the Dirty Dozen
Much of the industrial air pollution in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County comes from just the Dirty Dozen—12 industrial facilities that are responsible for 83% of the toxic air pollution reported by industry in the region.
For example, one of the worst offenders is the Shenango Coke Works. This polluting behemoth recently violated its Clean Air Act permits 330 times in a 432 day period—essentially 3 out of every four days.
Many communities located near or downwind from these polluting facilities have been fighting to get them to reduce their pollution and clean up their act for years. These communities are tired of having to keep their windows closed to keep the toxic odors out of their homes, and worrying about the possible health impacts of letting their kids go outside to play.
Our Chance for Clean Air
Unfortunately, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), who is responsible for protecting citizens residents have failed to address these large sources of pollution so far. Despite overwhelming evidence of heightened risks from air pollution throughout the county, ACHD has dismissed the threat posed by air pollution time and time again.
PennEnvironment is working to organize and amplify the voices of concerned Pittsburghers, to make sure that the county’s elected officials and the Health Department take air pollution seriously and work quickly and aggressively to address it.
Featured Report and Project
Meet Allegheny County's Toxic Ten
Ten industrial facilities in Allegheny County emitted more than 1.4 million pounds of toxics into the air in 2013 – including substances linked to cancer, birth defects, reproductive problems, heart disease and other ailments.
The Pittsburgh region has some of the worst air quality in the nation. According to a study from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013, the area ranks in the top .3% in the nation for cancer risk due to air pollution from point sources.
The Toxic Ten, along with diesel and other pollution, significantly contribute to that risk. In addition, more than 24,000 children and hundreds of thousands of adults have asthma, and the poor air quality exacerbates their respiratory issues.
It’s time for the Allegheny County Health Department to protect the health of Pittsburgh area resident by cleaning up the Toxic Ten.
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