Pittsburgh is decades beyond a time when the city’s air was so polluted and dark that streetlights were turned on at midday. Because of booming industry, the rivers and soil were also polluted. We may not have such obvious reminders of the region’s polluted past, but where are we now? And, importantly, how does the current environment affect our health?
The Pittsburgh area is, in general, less polluted. In terms of air pollution, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) monitors the air as required by the Environmental Protection Agency. All of the monitors across our area show steady downward trends in recent years. Jane Clougherty, ScD, assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, has been working with ACHD to monitor fine particles in and around downtown Pittsburgh. According to Dr. Clougherty, the question of Pittsburgh’s air quality can be a tricky one.