Select a city from the dropdown on the right to compare our air.
Percentile rank for average annual particle pollution out of 296 urban areas using U.S. EPA data from 2012 to 2014 (Clean Air Task Force, 2015).
To view the interactive Breathe Meter please view full desktop website.
Despite significant improvement over the years, the Pittsburgh region still ranks among the dirtiest-air cities in America. Our air quality also is improving more slowly than in many other urban areas.
But we can reverse these trends. Our coalition partners are stepping up to reduce harmful emissions–and there are many easy, money-saving actions you can take in your own home and business for clean air.
Particle pollution, or soot, occurs year-round. It is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets. Fine particles are a subset of this group, the smallest of which measure 2.5 microns or less in diameter–1/30th the width of a human hair.
PM2.5 is especially dangerous because the microscopic particles can be inhaled deeply into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing serious health effects. Toxic gases can also “hitchhike” into the body on fine particles, bypassing the defenses of our nose and throat.
Some particle pollution is emitted directly; other particle pollution forms when precursors–such as sulfur dioxides, nitrogen oxides and ammonia–combine in the atmosphere. Sources include power plants, coke- and steel-making facilities, other industrial facilities, residential wood burning, motor vehicles and construction equipment.