According to the American Lung Association, the Pittsburgh region has some of the worst air pollution levels in the country. Despite some improvements in recent years, cars, local power plants, and heavy industry, such as the US Steel’s Clairton Coke Works in the Mon Valley, are still spewing out a wide range of airborne contaminants. In fact, the county’s air quality monitor, close to the Clairton Plant, has the highest recorded soot readings east of the Rockies. There is no doubt that industrial activity on this scale is having a severe impact on air quality and the health of local residents.
According to the report, the air in Pittsburgh scored an ‘F’ for ozone, which can exacerbate respiratory issues such as asthma, and an ‘F’ for particulate matter, which is associated with heart and lung disease, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
The Dangers of Sulfur Dioxide
Another significant pollutant in the Pittsburgh area is sulfur dioxide. According to the CDC, exposure to sulfur dioxide can cause symptoms such as sneezing, sore throat, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and a feeling of suffocation.
In Allegheny County, the main source of sulfur dioxide comes from just a few locations, including Clairton Coke Works, Irvin Works, the Cheswick Generating Station, and Edgar Thomson Works.
New App Helps to Track Pollution Sources Day by Day
Pittsburghers are all too familiar with the smell of sulfur dioxide, but the gas is invisible, so tracking the cause of the odor can be tricky. However, the Plume PHG App developed by a team from Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab makes finding and tracking the source much easier. The app displays pollutants moving across the local area, clearly indicating who is impacted on any given day. It’s an excellent resource for residents looking to understand where pollutants originate and, ultimately, who is responsible.
Pollutants Often Travel Many Miles from The Source
It’s worth remembering that it’s not just residents living close to the source of the problem who are at risk. When temperatures on the ground are colder than the upper level, pollutants remain trapped close to the ground. These conditions, known as an ‘inversion,’ are a common occurrence in the Pittsburgh area. According to the Allegheny County Health Department, inversions occur around 157 days of the year. And it’s on days like this, that pollutants remain concentrated, close to the ground, in areas many miles away.
What Can You Do?
Now we can’t always control the pollutants we’re exposed to outdoors, but we can do something about the air inside our homes. If you live close to industrial activity, you can be sure those contaminants are finding their way into your home through open doors, windows, and any other gaps.
For peace of mind in your home, we recommend the Austin Air HealthMate Plus. Using a unique blend of medical-grade HEPA and impregnated carbon, the Austin Air HealthMate Plus will effectively remove 99.97% of all airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns, including dust, allergens, viruses, bacteria, chemicals, and VOCs.
Don’t Just Take Our Word for It!!
Pittsburgh Steelers stars Levi Wallace and Christian Kuntz have recently joined the Austin Air athletes’ team. And already they are feeling the benefits of breathing clean air, free from contaminants, as it helps to improve their performance, training, and overall wellbeing.
“Austin Air has been nothing short of amazing for me. It has made a noticeable difference in the air quality throughout the house, and I love it!” Christian Kuntz, Long Snapper Pittsburgh Steelers.
According to another Pittsburgher, Brett Satterfield, owner of Rollier’s Hardware, his customers living in smaller towns surrounding Pittsburgh have been using Austin Air purifiers for a number of years.
“Using an Austin Air purifier can be beneficial and helps to keep the air free from contaminants“.
In independent tests carried out by New York Times Wirecutter Magazine, Austin Air was the only air purifier to effectively remove VOCs from the environment.
If you feel it’s time to make a change and live a longer, healthier life, why not visit our products page to learn more about how we can help you.Shop Now