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.
Featured Report and Project
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.
Click here to learn more by visiting the Toxic Ten website.
Join our fight against air pollution in Pittsburgh by downloading the "Smell Pittsburgh" App. Smell something? Say Something!