Each Pennsylvanian has a right to breathe clean air, even if that right is not always protected by our local and state leaders.
Despite these rights, enshrined in our state constitution, Pennsylvania has the third worst air quality in the United States.
Toxic air pollution exacerbates asthma and can lead to other heart and lung diseases. Our children and elderly are especially at risk. What’s worse, is that air pollution in Pennsylvania disproportionately affects low-income communities and people of color, commonly referred to as “Environmental Justice” areas.
Pennsylvania can do so much better. That’s why PennFuture serves as the Commonwealth’s watchdog for clean air issues.
Federal reforms require that the state monitor six “criteria pollutants.” Across Southwestern Pennsylvania and much of the Delaware Valley, the air we breathe contains high concentrations of these pollutants, all of which are known to cause adverse health effects.
Worst among all, Allegheny County has failed to attain state standards for ozone, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. Allegheny ranks among the worst 2 percent of counties in the United States for cancer risk caused by air pollution. School children across the county have asthma rates more than double the state average.
PennFuture investigates state, local and private industry’s adherence to air pollution rules, pursuing justice to prevent the most egregious violations.