Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Trouble in the Air

People across America regularly breathe unhealthy air that increases their risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.

In 2016, 73 million Americans experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality with the potential to harm human health. That is equal to more than three months of the year in which smog and/or particulate pollution was above the level that the EPA has determined presents “little to no risk.” Millions more people in urban and rural areas experienced less frequent but still damaging levels of air pollution.

Report | PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center

Plugging In

The adoption of large numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) offers many benefits for cities, including cleaner air and the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicles are far cleaner than gasoline-powered cars, with lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower emissions of the pollutants that contribute to smog and par- ticulate matter. 

The number of EVs on America’s streets is at an all-time high. Throughout 2016, sales of plug-in electric vehicles increased nearly 38 percent. In 2017, sales of electric vehicles were up again, increasing 32 percent over the year. The introduction of the Chevy Bolt, Tesla’s Model 3 and other affordable, long-range electric vehicles suggests that growth in EV sales is just beginning. In fact, Chevrolet’s Bolt EV was named Motor Trend ’s 2017 Car of the Year. 

Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Toxic Ten

Ten industrial polluters in Allegheny County emitted a total of 1.4 million pounds of toxic pollutants into the air in 2013 – including substances linked to cancer, breathing problems, heart disease and nervous system damage.  More than one in three Allegheny County residents lives within three miles of those 10 facilities.