ShareThis Page

Air quality in Pittsburgh area improves, but there's still 'much to do'

| Thursday, April 20, 2017, 5:48 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
FirstEnegy's Mitchell Power Plant, in Union, Washington County, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, is one of three power stations that are the subject of a 2005 lawsuit by Pennsylvania and four other states who claim the utility ignored air pollution laws for more than two decades.

The Greater Pittsburgh area experienced fewer days of high particle air pollution from 2013 to 2015 than ever before, according to an American Lung Association report.

That's a big improvement from the 2008 report, when the Pittsburgh area was ranked the nation's “most polluted city” in the same category, the association's 2017 State of the Air report said.

Pittsburgh is one of eight areas nationwide that achieved its best air quality levels ever for year-round particle pollution, according to the report. The Harrisburg/York/Lebanon area was also named as one of the eight.

Despite the improvement, Allegheny County is still listed as 13th worst in the country for people being at risk for year-round particle pollution in 2017, the report said, a failing grade in that category.

“We recently met the short-term fine particulate EPA standard and the ozone EPA standard,” Allegheny County Health Department's executive director, Dr. Karen Hacker, said in a prepared statement. “We soon expect to meet the annual particulate value.

“While we are proud of these improvements, and thank our public advocates and industry for their contributions, we still have much to do. Simply meeting the standard is not enough and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to improve the air quality in Allegheny County that impacts the health of the public.”

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.