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Lung Association says Pittsburgh air better but not good

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The Pittsburgh region had its best-ever air quality last year, but still was one of two places outside California to rank among the 25 most polluted in the American Lung Association's “State of the Air 2013” report.

Allegheny County trimmed its average of unhealthy air days to 20.7 from 26.3 in the 2012 report, but still earned an overall F grade. Several counties improved their grades with Armstrong and Beaver improving from an F to a C, Washington County improving from a D to a C and Lawrence County improving from a C to a B.

The association's methodology produces critics every year because of its selectivity. The report uses only the worst daily readings from federal monitors. For the Pittsburgh region, that means most readings come from Liberty, a small Mon Valley town about 16 miles southeast of the Golden Triangle that lies downwind of U.S. Steel Corp.'s Clairton Coke Works, the nation's largest coke plant.

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