• Drilling For Answers


    Photo by Maranie Staab

    Understanding the public health impact of fracking slowly gains ground Well pads, compressor stations, diesel truck traffic. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves many moving parts, some of which have the potential to vent pollutants into the air southwestern Pennsylvanians breathe. Fracking doesn’t consist of large, stationary pollution sources, like U.S. Steel’s metallurgical coke plant in... More

  • Does Air Quality Matter to Young Workers?


    Photo by Maranie Staab

    Pittsburgh’s “smoky city” days are past, but the region’s air remains among the most polluted of the country’s metropolitan areas, according to The American Lung Association’s rankings. Last year, the association put it at No. 8 in its list of cities with the most annual particle pollution. More

  • Living Dangerously


    Photo by Maranie Staab

    Despite the improvement in the region’s air quality in recent years, southwestern Pennsylvania still fails to meet federal health-based standards for various major air pollutants, such as ground-level ozone, sulfur dioxide and fine particulates, known as PM2.5. And that regional pollution elevates risks of cancer, respiratory ailments and other serious health problems. More

  • The Last Coke Works


    The Last Coke Works // Pittsburgh Today

    U.S. Steel’s Clairton plant still casts a long shadow over local air quality At the Clairton Public Library in the industrial Monongahela River valley, patrons can check out “Moby Dick,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the adventures of Curious George and any number of Nancy Drew mysteries. They can read issues of Vogue and Popular Science.... More

  • The Region’s Top 10 Air Polluters


    The Region's Top 10 Air Polluters

    Although the region’s air has improved dramatically from the height of Pittsburgh’s industrial past, southwestern Pennsylvania remains home to factories and power plants that release millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data to track toxic chemicals released into the air, water and... More

  • Up in the Air


    Up In The Air

    Southwestern Pennsylvania and air quality have long had a complicated relationship. For the better part of a century, the region had been a place so polluted from the soot of industry and homes heated by coal that street lamps were lit in the afternoon and walking a single block could ruin the collar of a... More

  • The Road to Sustainability



    In a region conceived around the principles of sustainability, clean, healthy air is an undisputed staple. Southwestern Pennsylvania is not there yet. The air has markedly improved from the days when industry was the backbone of the economy. Yet, in the best of years, it’s only good enough to warrant a healthy rating on one-third... More