Clean Air for Pittsburgh

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 Research & Policy Center

Statement: PennEnvironment applauds U.S. EPA decision to penalize Neville Island polluter for dangerous air pollution

PITTSBURGH --  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a notice of violation to Metalico, Inc for air pollution from the company’s metal-grinding facility on Neville Island. This legal action comes after years of public outcry from local residents about pollution being released by the plant, including large spikes in particulate matter following a serious fire at the facility earlier this year. A notice of violation is a formal step in the Clean Air Act enforcement process that can lead to further action, including a fine.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

New report: Millions of Pennsylvanians experienced frequent unhealthy air in 2020

[PITTSBURGH]– Millions of Pennsylvanians suffered through frequent levels of elevated air pollution in 2020, according to a new report from PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. The study used statistics from 2020, the most recent data available. Air pollution increases the risk of premature death, asthma attacks, cancer and other adverse health impacts.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Release: Port Authority of Allegheny County urged to transition to electric vehicles

PITTSBURGH -- PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center and sixteen other groups representing a broad cross-section of Pittsburghers submitted a letter Friday calling on the Port Authority of Allegheny County to commit to fully electrify its fleet, to commit to using energy generated 100% from renewable sources, and to create detailed plans to ensure these goals

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

‘Toxic Ten’ report singles out Allegheny County’s new most- toxic air polluter

PITTSBURGH --  Allegheny County’s “Toxic Ten” industrial air polluters collectively released more than 1 million pounds of toxic air pollution in 2019, according to a new report by PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center. The pollution included toxic chemicals such as benzene (a carcinogen), chromium (a carcinogen and respiratory irritant), and manganese (a neurotoxin). The full ranking, along with a tool allowing residents to find out how close they live to the Toxic Ten, is available at www.ToxicTen.org.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

New Study: PA electric vehicle program expansion could lead to 18-million-ton yearly reduction in state’s climate pollution

PHILADELPHIA – Pennsylvania could reduce its climate pollution by 18 million metric tons annually -- the equivalent of taking nearly 4 million gas-powered vehicles off the road --  by expanding its clean cars program to include a Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) program, according to a new study released Thursday.  This report comes out just after the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposed the Keystone State embrace a ZEV program. 

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