A Dangerous Haze

Sadly, the Pittsburgh area has some of the dirtiest air in the nation. Right now, 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 Toxic Ten

Much of the industrial air pollution in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County comes from just 10 industrial facilities that are responsible for 83% of the toxic air pollution reported by industry in the region--They’re known as the Pittsburgh Toxic Ten.

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. Local residents are sick and tired of having to keep their windows closed to keep the toxic odors out of their homes, and they’re fed up with worrying about the possible health impacts for their families or letting their kids go outside to play.

Our Chance for Clean Air

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) is responsible for protecting local residents, and being our advocate against the region’s worst air polluters. Instead, ACHD has turned a blind eye instead of standing up to these polluters. Despite overwhelming evidence of the heightened risks posed by air pollution throughout the county, time and again ACHD has shrugged off these threats instead of taking action to protect our health.

So 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.

Clean Air Updates

News Release | PennEnvironment

PennEnvironment applauds federal government, Allegheny County Health Department for lawsuit against U.S. Steel

PITTSBURGH – The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) sued U.S. Steel on Monday for multiple violations of the Clean Air Act at the company’s Edgar Thomson Mill in Braddock. The incidents occurred from 2014 to 2017 and include violations at the facility’s blast furnaces, oxygen processing shop and baghouses.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passes ban on single-use plastic bags 10 days before Earth Day

Pittsburgh-- Just in time for Earth Day, Pittsburgh City Council has unanimously passed a ban on wasteful single-use plastic bags.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

Haverford Commissioners pass legislation to ban single-use plastic bags

Haverford– Today, Haverford Township’s Board of Commissioners passed Bill no. P2-2022 which will take crucial steps to reduce plastic bag use in the Township. 

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

New report: Electric school buses could protect PA kids from air pollution, store power for our electrical grid

PHILADELPHIA -- As early as next month, billions of new federal dollars will start to become available for school districts across Pennsylvania and the nation to transition to clean, electric school buses. Today, most of the country’s nearly half a million school buses run on diesel fuel, producing harmful emissions that children are forced to breathe. With the support of the World Resources Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative, PennPIRG Education Fund, PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center and Frontier Group are releasing a new report examining how the transition to electric school buses, in addition to keeping diesel exhaust out of developing lungs, could help speed up the expansion of clean energy by providing a critical source of reliable battery storage.

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Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Electric School Buses and the Grid

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