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This week, the folks at GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution) did a retro thing in our digital, share-it-all world. Rather than deluge Pittsburgh Public Schools with tweets and Facebook posts asking them to upgrade their buses to spew less pollution, they went old-school, delivering hundreds of postcards, signed by parents and community members, to district administration at a Board of Education meeting.

IdleBlog1

In mid-December, Group Against Smog and Pollution delivered hundreds of signed postcards to Pittsburgh Public Schools, urging them to upgrade school buses so that they emit fewer pollutants.

 

School buses? They emit pollution? Yes.

Every day, while kids wait to board the bus after school, while they’re in transit, idling school buses release a soup of polluting chemicals into the air and into your kids’ lungs. It’s called diesel particulate matter, and it’s made up of benzene, formaldehyde, nitrogen compounds, sulfur compounds, and tiny pieces of metal, ash and carbon (dude, that’s a list!).

And it’s not just your kids breathing in that stuff. The teachers and para-pros who wait with them and the bus drivers who take them home also get lungs full of the stuff. Every day.

Buses waiting near Pittsburgh's downtown schools. They are turned off, not idling.

Buses waiting near Pittsburgh’s downtown schools. They are turned off, not idling.

Pollution is strongly linked to childhood asthma, other respiratory illnesses in kids and adults and heart problems in grown-ups. So, GASP’s request to PPS was a simple one – as the district renegotiates their contract with the school bus companies they want to work with, insist that

a) they use only newer buses built with emission controls,

or

b) that they retrofit their old fleets with diesel particulate filters.

 

GASP said to the district, be part of the plan to give our kids the cleanest air possible every day.

 

We have some of the worst air in the United States, and that’s true for pretty much all of the Pittsburgh area. Idling may not be our biggest source of pollution in Pittsburgh, but it’s an important and comparatively easy one to manage.

 

While the bulk of the schmutz in the air comes from industrial point sources like coke ovens, the few remaining steel mills and cement plants, a good chunk of it also comes from commercial diesel vehicles. By law, they are allowed to idle for five out of every 60 minutes in operation, and up to 15 minutes per hour if they carry passengers in need of say, heat or air conditioning.

 

So, school buses, tour buses, those large coaches that take commuters back to the exurbs each day – they really aren’t supposed to sit with their engines running. Yet, they do, even in the case of school buses, as they are sitting in front of mandatory signs asking them not to. GASP has sent several hundred signs to 13 different regional school districts, including most recently, the one in Hempfield.

Buses are not supposed to idle outside schools for longer than five minutes per 60 minute stretch.

Buses are not supposed to idle outside schools for longer than five minutes per 60 minute stretch.

 

Getting newer buses is a good deal for districts, too. They are more reliable. Parents get fewer calls about stalled buses. Drivers don’t have to worry if turning off the bus means they won’t be able to turn it back on.

 

And then, there’s this: money. The idling law is only enforceable by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection inspectors and local police departments. The cops get half the fine in civic revenue for each ticket paid. For communities who have the manpower, enforcing this law means cash in the coffers.

 

So, as the school year continues, here’s to the teachers, parents, drivers and even the kids themselves who talk to bus drivers and school officials about this issue, and who value the littlest lungs in our city. Cleaner buses and less idling means a less toxic educational environment in southwestern PA, and who wouldn’t get behind that?

 

If your school district is lacking the mandatory signage contact GASP at idling@gasp-pgh.org for information on free signs.

 

Breathe Project gets lots of messages from people like you – concerned, proactive folks wanting to do more to clean up the air in southwest Pennsylvania.

 

Whether you have just a couple of hours to spare each week, or are looking for full- and part-time internships, there are tons of organizations in our area that want to meet you. Most of the internship opportunities will be unpaid, but in many cases, you can get college credit.

 

So, check them out, learn more about what they do, and use the contact information below to get involved! We’re all in this together. We all deserve to breathe clean air.

 

 

Sierra Club

Sierra Club is always looking for interns and volunteers. They’ll meet with you over coffee, talk about what you’d like to do, and work from there.

 

Email Randy Francisco, randy.francisco@sierraclub.org.

 

 

CWA

Clean Water Action is not just about waterways – they work on air quality issues as well. You meet with staffers and work together to create an experience that benefits you both.

Contact Cassi Steenblok, csteenblok@cleanwater.org, or Steve Hvozdovich shvozdovich@cleanwater.org.

 

 

ALA3dStackStatePA

 

The American Lung Association takes volunteers and interns. Along with funding research and advocating for clean air and healthy lungs, the American Lung Association is well known for State of the Air, their yearly air quality report for the United States.

 

Contact Paige Dewhirst, pdewhirst@lunginfo.org.

 

 

Fair Shake

Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services works on environmental justice issues with clients of modest means in Pennsylvania and Ohio. They offer internships in several different areas and are looking for people with undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in subjects/fields such as law, public policy, environmental science, environmental engineering, technology and communications.

 

Contact Oday Salim for Pennsylvania opportunities at osalim@fairshake-els.org.

Contact James Yskamp for Ohio opportunities at jyskamp@fairshake-els.org.

 

 

 

PennFuture

 

Penn Future does great work around Pittsburgh’s air quality issues. They take interns and volunteers and are looking for attorneys, people to help with outreach and communications, and folks with experience or an interest in local air quality, shale gas, local government and implementation of the Clean Power Plan.

 

Contact George Jugovic, jugovic@pennfuture.org.

 

 

WHE

Women for a Healthy Environment works on lots of issues, including air quality in the Pittsburgh area. They are looking for interns or volunteers with experience or education in the following areas: communications, education, environmental studies, sustainability, public policy and public health.

 

Contact Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, info@womenforahealthyenvironment.org.

 

 

CAC

 

Clean Air Council is looking for volunteers and interns to help with canvassing in the Mon Valley, and for educational outreach on major point source pollution. They work on everything from pipelines to point sources.

 

Contact Mollie Simon, msimon@cleanair.org.

 

 

GASP

 

GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution) works on many projects in the Pittsburgh area, from litigation concerning point sources to educational campaigns to reduce idling school buses and diesel vehicles. Interns candidates will meet with staff to create a program that benefits both the candidate and GASP. Volunteers will receive appropriate training for projects as they arise.

 

Contact Jamin Bogi, jamin@gasp-pgh.org.

 

 

 

PennEnvironment

 

Penn Environment is a statewide organization that deals with many issues, including air quality. Interns will work on outreach projects, building new coalitions and working on existing coalitions. They will help recruit volunteers, plan events and work on media projects. Volunteers will work on citizen outreach projects and events.

 

Contact Stephen Riccardi, stephen@pennenvironment.org

Researchers at Pitt took a look at births in southwest Pennsylvania and found a link between exposure to chromium and styrene and autism.

 

The study is here. We’re going to do our best to summarize it below.

 

Who did the study?

The study leader is Evelyn Talbot. She’s an epidemiologist in the public health school at Pitt. Epidemiologists try to establish cause and effect for disease, but often, they are also looking for correlations – things that have a relationship to each other, but aren’t necessarily cause and effect. A correlation is what they say they have found in this paper.

Children playing in the shadow of the coal-fired power plant in Cheswick.

Children playing in the shadow of the coal-fired power plant in Cheswick.

Who was in the study?

Talbot’s team took a look at the medical history and talked to the moms of 217 children born between 2005 and 2009 who have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. These kids live in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington or Westmoreland Counties. The researchers also looked at a similar number of children who weren’t on the autism spectrum and interviewed their moms. They also compared their findings to thousands of births in the area, but there were no interviews.

 

Um, 217 kids doesn’t seem like a lot. Is it?

Is 217 enough to do a study? The authors said that based on predictions of the number of children born in these counties in those years, they wanted to enroll about half the number predicted to have ASD (autism spectrum disorder). That would be 250 children. Pretty close!

 

How do you know the kids were exposed to anything?

The team used computer models based on pollution data collected by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to predict the actual exposure of each kid in the study based on addresses during the study period. They looked at 30 different air toxics that are found in southwestern PA that have been known to effect development, our nervous systems or our hormone systems.

 

And they found what?

Of the 30 different air toxics they looked at (things like benzene, arsenic and lead), they found a pretty strong correlation between developing autism and exposure to styrene, an oily chemical that ends up in plastics and chromium, a metal that is sometimes used in steel production.

 

Now what?

The study is just the beginning, but since we already know that exposure to pollution can impact children and adults, the authors think that following up with monitoring the levels of styrene and chromium in the air can give us more data to better understand individual outcomes. One surprising thing is that we have no autism registry in PA. Given the number of people studying the disorders, and the list of potential causes, the researchers are calling on the state, if not the nation, to start a registry.

 

 

Something you have to see – a photo exhibit of lives and air pollution in Southwest Pittsburgh. Starting Friday, Sept. 18 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

A child playing with fireworks. A significant source of pollution.

A child playing with fireworks. A significant source of pollution.

 

For the past year, local artists have used photography and interviews to try and visual thesocial, political, economic and health impacts of air pollution in the greater Pittsburgh area. We live in a region with about a dozen air quality monitors, gathering data about what we breathe. And guess what, nearly all of them record numbers in the worst one-third of the nation.

Children playing in the shadow of the coal-fired power plant in Cheswick.

Children playing in the shadow of the coal-fired power plant in Cheswick. This is one of the photos to be on exhibit at Pittsburgh Filmmakers from Sept. 18 through Feb. 26, 2016.

You can’t see air, but in this project all are the ways that you feel its impact. Make a night of it. Go.

Sept. 18, 2015 through Feb. 26, 2016

477 Melwood, Pittsburgh, 15213

Hey folks – big news today out of PennEnvironment – they’ve filed their intent to sue ArcelorMittal, the global steel company, for what they describe as hundreds of violations of the Clean Air Act out of their plant in Monessen, south of Pittsburgh.

 

PennEnvironment held a press conference today to discuss the pending suit, with people who live in the neighborhood talking about how hard it is to live by the plant. The full text of their press release is below.

 

PENNENVIRONMENT TO SUE WORLD’S LARGEST
STEEL COMPANY OVER ILLEGAL AIR POLLUTION

ArcelorMittal’s Pittsburgh-area Plant Commits Hundreds of Clean Air Act Violations, Raining Soot and Foul Odors on Local Residents

 

[PITTSBURGH, PA] – At a news conference held in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh, representatives of the citizen-based non-profit group PennEnvironment announced they’re taking the required steps to trigger a lawsuit against the world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal, to address hundreds of ongoing violations of the federal Clean Air Act.

 

The suit would address a wide variety of alleged problems at ArcelorMittal USA, Inc.’s Monessen Coke Plant, located twenty-five miles south of Pittsburgh on the banks of the Monongahela River. Local residents say the plant is fouling the air over a wide swath of southwestern Pennsylvania.

 

The required pre-suit notice letter, sent on behalf of PennEnvironment and its members to ArcelorMittal, as well as to state and federal regulators, alleges that residents of numerous nearby towns surrounding the plant have been showered with soot, acidic gases, and noxious odors since the idled, decades-old facility re-started in April 2014. These include the municipalities of Monessen, Donora, Monongahela, and Carroll Township, located in both Westmoreland and Washington counties.

Monessengrafix

A view of the ArcelorMittal plant in Monessen. Photo by Logan Tilley

 

“I’ve met with residents who live in towns all around this plant, and their stories about air pollution from this facility are gut-wrenching,” said David Masur, Executive Director of PennEnvironment. “Ever since the Monessen Coke Plant re-opened last year, local residents have had their quality of life diminished, have endured ongoing odors and soot, and have had to fear for their health and the health of their families. This is appalling and unacceptable.”

 

“The smell that emanates from the Monessen plant is consistently foul and sometimes so suffocating that I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I only get relief from these odors and pollution when I leave the area,” said Viktoryia Maroz, a resident of Donora, PA.

 

Photos of the facility can be viewed at hC4l. If using photos to accompany a news story, please credit as, “Logan Tilley.”

 

The Clean Air Act’s “citizen suit” provision allows private individuals and organizations to sue violators in federal court after first providing 60 days’ notice of their intent to file suit and of the violations to be addressed in the suit.

 

The Monessen plant’s 56 coke battery ovens heat coal at high temperatures to produce nearly 1,000 tons per day of “coke,” a form of carbon that is added to molten iron to produce steel. Coke from the Monessen plant is shipped to ArcelorMittal’s various North American steel mills.

 

The production of coke creates massive amounts of toxic, chemical-laden gases and fine particulate pollutants that, if not properly contained and treated, can cause serious environmental and public health problems when released to the surrounding environment.

 

The notice letter alleges a wide range of violations at ArcelorMittal’s Monessen plant, including:

 

• Operating the plant for days and weeks at a time while a key air pollution control device was out of service;
• Approximately 200 violations of the facility’s pollution limits for hydrogen sulfide (a toxic gas with a foul odor), sulfur dioxide (a respiratory irritant and contributor to acid rain), and particulate matter (which can lodge in the lungs and exacerbate respiratory problems);
• Failure to install a mandatory monitoring device needed to track the amount of hydrogen sulfide coming from the facility’s smokestacks.

 

At times, violations have been so egregious that ArcelorMittal’s emission levels have been up to eight times higher than the legally allowable limits.

 

ArcelorMittal USA, Inc., is headquartered in Chicago. Its parent company is headquartered in Luxembourg and has annual revenues of over $80 billion.

 

PennEnvironment’s lawsuit will be filed by the non-profit attorneys at the National Environmental Law Center (NELC), in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, located in Pittsburgh. The lawsuit will seek a court order requiring the Monessen Coke Plant to comply with its Clean Air Act permit, and civil penalties against ArcelorMittal to punish it for past violations and to deter future violations.

 

A separate class-action lawsuit (unrelated to the suit announced today by PennEnvironment) has been filed against ArcelorMittal’s Monessen Coke Plant, seeking monetary damages for residents suffering from noxious odors and soot.

 

“It’s outrageous that the world’s largest steel company, which brings in $80 billion annually, can’t find a way to comply with our cornerstone environmental laws and ensure the health and safety of nearby residents,” stated Masur. “That’s anything but being a good corporate neighbor.”

 

###

 

PennEnvironment is a citizen-funded, statewide environmental advocacy organization. For more information about this or other PennEnvironment campaigns, please visit our website at www.PennEnvironment.org.

 

The National Environmental Law Center (NELC) is a non-profit environmental litigation group. NELC will be joined in the lawsuit by attorney David Nicholas of Newton, Massachusetts, and Pittsburgh attorney Thomas Farrell of Farrell & Reisinger, LLC.

code_orange
Code_Orange
 
Today, the State Department of Environmental Resources has issued a “code orange” alert.  The air quality index is expected to enter the range of 101 to 150 for Pittsburgh, the Liberty-Clairton area in southeastern Allegheny County, and Indiana County.  This level of pollution puts young children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems in danger.
 
Click on the link above to watch a short video clip to see what a code orange day in Pittsburgh looks like.
 
Read more about this alert in today’s Post Gazette.

Did you see John Graham’s Op-Ed in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette last week? If not, click here. John, who is a senior scientist with the Clean Air Task Force, studies air quality here in Western PA.

 

ALA

A screenshot of the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2015 report. Pittsburgh ranks in the top 10 for high levels of very small particles in the air. These particles can cause health problems.

The American Lung Association recently released their rankings of air quality nationwide. We are still in the top 10 for worst daily and yearly PM2.5 readings, even though we have been improving.

 

After the PG and others took the American Lung Association to task for basing their rankings on one monitor in our area, John said, hang on. Yes, that one monitor, the Liberty-Clairton monitor, gives really bad readings, but it’s not the only one.

 

Pittsburgh’s air is bad. Most of our monitors give readings in the bottom one-third of air quality in the nation. Think about it. Six hundred monitors nation wide. Two hundred in the bottom one-third. Most of Western PA’s one dozen monitors fall on that list.

 

Yes, it’s getting better, but the problem isn’t over. Is better air really good enough?

 

5_ways-to-help

The Environmental Protection Agency recently designated Allegheny County as out of compliance with federal air quality standards for fine particulate matter, a type of air pollution known to cause premature death. The EPA’s detailed analysis shows that multiple local sources contribute to the county’s harmful levels of air quality.

 

We can do better. We need to do better.

 

Almost every other county – or 95 percent of the United States – already complies with the federal standards, set in 2012. And our country’s standards lag far behind those recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the standards of one of our closest neighbors, Canada.

Attainment2

(NOTE: Blue counties – including Allegheny County – are those NOT in attainment. Source: EPA 2014)

 

Fine particulate matter kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. But it’s worth noting that solutions to this public health problem are well-understood and achievable. Also, for every dollar spent to reduce air pollution sources, many more dollars are saved by avoiding heart attacks, asthma and lost workdays and schooldays.

 

Since up to 66 percent of Allegheny County’s air pollution comes from sources within the county and Pennsylvania, the Breathe Project’s mission is to promote a collective understanding and vision that it is vitally important for all us to do more to improve our region’s air quality.

 

We need to do better, and we can do better.

 

Here are five ways our business, civic and community leaders can work together to reduce air pollution, and in so doing commit our region to having healthy air that is safe for all of us to breathe.

 

(1) Every reasonable step should be taken to ensure the largest local industrial air pollution sources are subject to stringent emissions controls and are not in violation of their permits. “Pay to pollute” is not a viable way to regulate facilities with violations.

 

(2) A comprehensive plan to reduce diesel emissions should be developed and various strategies should be employed to decrease their contribution to the problem. These efforts should include idling law enforcement, adoption of clean construction policies and retrofit/replacement projects. We should emulate some of the institutions in Pittsburgh that already have taken the lead to accomplish these goals.

 

(3) Mass transit, bike lanes and carpooling should continue to be incentivized.

 

(4) Laws on wood burning should be strengthened and enforced. There is no reason why entire portions of neighborhoods should be smoked out by a handful of wood burners whose emissions infiltrate into others’ homes and make yards virtually uninhabitable.

 

(5) Inventories should be conducted in the neighborhoods, schools and parks where we and our children live, work and play to assess their air pollution burden and contributing factors. With this information, steps should be taken to reduce sources within their control and to demand that regulators work harder and faster to clean up those sources outside of residents’ control.

 

We can act now to clean up our air. Let’s do it!

Local air quality groups are circulating a petition urging the Allegheny County Health Department to include air quality in the strategic plan they are adopting at the Board of Health meeting on Jan. 7. Please help move this important issue forward by signing.  http://org.salsalabs.com/o/2155/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16891

For immediate release:
December 3, 2014

 

Breathe Cam Lets Citizens Document Pittsburgh’s
Visual Air Pollution and Its Sources

 

Carnegie Mellon Technology Now Part of The Heinz Endowments’ Breathe Project

 

PITTSBURGH—A system of four cameras, called Breathe Cam, now keeps a constant watch on air quality over Pittsburgh, providing citizens with a new interactive tool for monitoring and documenting visual pollution in the air they breathe and even tracing it back to its sources.

 

Funded by The Heinz Endowments as part of its Breathe Project, the camera system was developed and deployed by the CREATE Lab in Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. Anyone can access Breathe Cam online, where images of the Downtown, East End and Mon Valley skylines are updated around the clock.

 

Using the interactive controls, people can zoom in on items of interest, whether it’s a hovering brown cloud or individual smokestacks or coke plants. They can scan back in time to observe changes in visibility or to try to find the sources of dirty air. They also can skip back to particular dates and times that have been catalogued since the cameras were installed.

 

The researchers also have developed a computer vision tool to help people identify and quantify events of interest, such as releases from a smokestack. Users can correlate the visual conditions with hourly reports of fine particulate matter, ozone and other pollutant levels recorded by Allegheny County Health Department air monitoring stations.

 

“People can use Breathe Cam to gather visual evidence of what’s happening to the air they breathe, whether it’s for the entire city or for a pollution source that is a concern in their neighborhood,” said Illah Nourbakhsh, professor of robotics. “With a better understanding of the dynamics of our environment, people can work more effectively to improve conditions. This isn’t technology for technology’s sake, but for the sake of community empowerment.”

 

Breathe Cam includes four cameras that produce panoramic images: one atop Mount Washington’s Trimont Towers; another at 625 Liberty Avenue, Downtown; one directed toward the East End from the University of Pittsburgh’s Benedum Hall that was installed in October; and a camera overlooking the Mon Valley from Walnut Towers in Squirrel Hill.

 

“The launch of the Breathe Cam creates for Pittsburgh one of the world’s most sophisticated imaging technologies for visualizing air pollution,” said Grant Oliphant, president of The Heinz Endowments, which launched the Breathe Project in the fall of 2011 to improve air quality in southwestern Pennsylvania. “This powerful tool will help build public awareness about the effects of dirty air on our health and environment, while empowering people to better understand and reduce these impacts in their own communities.”

 

The technology behind Breathe Cam is similar to the CREATE Lab’s GigaPan system, which uses software to stitch together multiple photographs to create a large panorama with incredible resolution. But researchers, led by Randy Sargent and Paul Dille, have upgraded the system so people can explore the panoramas only minutes after the individual images are recorded.

 

“This is the first time we’ve had cameras that can take pictures this rapidly and do so 24/7,” said Sargent, senior systems scientist. “And we no longer have to wait hours to combine the photos into panoramas. Thanks to work by Paul Dille, it takes just five or 10 minutes to process each panorama. It’s enabled us to turn this into a service, not just a technology.”

 

Though people viewing Breathe Cam via their computers can zoom in on objects of interest, the resolution isn’t high enough to allow users to identify people. The researchers have taken pains not to compromise the privacy of individuals or their homes.

 

One computer vision tool will enable users to gather information from the cameras without constantly watching the images. The tool can be set to trigger when something of interest to the user, such as the release of smoke from a coke battery or smokestack, occurs. In addition to monitoring air pollution, the same tool can be used to detect train movement across the city.

 

With electronic cameras now commonplace, many individuals across the country already are using cameras to routinely monitor pollution sources. With Breathe Cam, Nourbakhsh noted, Carnegie Mellon and Heinz have developed a computer architecture for turning these camera feeds into an evidentiary system. He said work is underway to make such a system available to anyone who wants to share their camera feed with it. In addition, the Allegheny County Health Department and local environmental groups are partnering with CREATE Lab to use Breathe Cam technology in their efforts to monitor and improve air quality in the region.

 

Editors: Breathe Cam images, GIFs and video are available for download at http://breathecam.cmucreatelab.org/press

 

###

 

Carnegie Mellon University
Department of Media Relations
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-268-2900
Fax: 412-268-6929

 

Contact:
Byron Spice
Carnegie Mellon
412-268-9068
bspice@cs.cmu.edu

 

John Ellis, Senior Director of Communications
The Heinz Endowments
412-338-2657
je@heinz.org

 

About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon (www.cmu.edu) is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 12,000 students in the university’s seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Pittsburgh, Pa., California’s Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico.

events
March 16, 2015
GASP holding a public meeting to discuss air quality in Lawrenceville   The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) Air Quality Program recently announced its intent to issue an operating permit for the McConway and Torley steel foundry located on 48th street in Lawrenceville. This facility is a significant local source of … Learn More
February 11, 2015
How is air pollution is impacting your life? Want to find out about the dangers of air pollution in our area and the associated health impacts? Want to see just how bad the pollution is in your own neighborhood? Is there a possible link between pollution and your … Learn More
January 14, 2015
Moving from Climate Awareness to Climate Action   First Sustainability Pioneers Bridge Party!   Wednesday January 14, 2015, 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM   PointBreezeway 7113 Reynolds St Pittsburgh, PA 15208   Join the first Sustainability Pioneers Bridge Party  – wine & cheese, networking, live music & … Learn More
January 7, 2015
Include air quality issues in the county’s strategic plan! Local air quality groups are circulating a petition urging the Allegheny County Health Department to include air quality in the strategic plan they are adopting at the Board of Health meeting on Jan. 7. Please help move this important issue … Learn More
December 13, 2014
“Particle Falls” Lighting Up the Holiday Season for a Difference The Heinz Endowments’ Breathe Project today launches artist Andrea Polli’s Particle Falls, a captivating digital-media installation that provides a real-time visualization of air quality.   At a time of year when Downtown Pittsburgh is aglow with holiday lights that raise … Learn More
October 29, 2014
Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge 2014-2015 Kicks Off The Green Workplace Challenge is back again for another year of exciting competition! If you work for a business, nonprofit, college or university, local government, or a K-12 school in southwestern Pennsylvania, sign up today to start saving money and … Learn More
October 18, 2014
2014 Pittsburgh Solar Tour   Most Pittsburgh house tours showcase beautiful interiors, tasteful design, and the glitz and glamour of bygone eras. The 2014 Pittsburgh Solar Tour is a home tour for the new Pittsburgh.   Join PennFuture to experience raw solar power, energy … Learn More
October 7, 2014
“Sustainability Pioneers” Documentary Premiere   How can Pittsburgh be a leader in building the bridge from our fossil fuel-based economy to an economy based on renewable energy and sustainable living?   Filmmaker and journalist Kirsi Jansa asks this question–arguably the most critical challenge of our … Learn More
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  • Breathe Project

    Scary bitter cold = good air this weekend, says @AIRNow forecast. But maybe stay inside anyway. Take care, friends!

    Timeline Photos

    Feb 12th 12:00pm • No Comments

    Folks, please share. The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a wind chill advisory for Pittsburgh and SW PA until Sunday morning. It will feel like -10 to -20 below.
    http://1.usa.gov/20Z9yd2

    Check on your neighbors, and if you see someone in need, here are some Citiparks - City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation warming centers:
    http://bit.ly/20Z9kTg

    Warming centers to open in Pittsburgh on Friday

    triblive.com

    The city's Citiparks facilities will serve as warming centers Friday for people seeking shelter from the cold. Friday's high temperature will be 24 degrees with a ...

    Feb 12th 7:31am • No Comments

    Research published this week out of Ohio. Research here shows similar connections between PM2.5 exposure and pregnancy/birth issues.

    Check out that map of monitors and preterm births. What do you think?

    http://bit.ly/20XD5E1

    Exposure to airborne particulate matter during pregnancy is associated with preterm birth: a population-based cohort study

    ehjournal.biomedcentral.com

    The frequency of high PM2.5 exposure was higher in preterm births compared to term births, see Table 2. The preterm birth rate was also increased with high PM2.5 exposure during the first and third trimester, and when there was high PM2.5 exposure averaged over the entire pregnancy, as demonstrated in Table 3. Likewise, the mean PM2.5 levels during each trimester when compared between term and preterm pregnancies demonstrated significantly higher average PM2.5 levels during the first and third trimester for the preterm birth group compared to term births, p = 0.01 (data not displayed in table). Likewise, the overall pregnancy average PM2.5 levels were higher for the preterm birth group compared to the term birth group, p < 0.01.

    Feb 11th 9:00pm • No Comments

    Despite the Supreme Court ruling regarding power plant emissions and the Clean Power Plan, Pittsburgh Business Times says the state of Pennsylvania is pushing ahead to comply. Take a look.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/blog/energy/2016/02/pennsylvania-moves-forward-with-clean-power.html

    Pennsylvania plans to follow Clean Power Plan regulations - Pittsburgh Business Times

    bizjournals.com

    This despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week putting the regulations on hold.

    Feb 11th 7:10am • No Comments

    Today, in The New York Times' Lens Blog:
    In the Air, a photo exhibit visualizing Pittsburgh's #airpollution problem.
    If you haven't gone, GO. Through Feb. 26 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.
    These images are now. They will move you.
    #cleanairpittsburgh #airqualitymatters
    http://nyti.ms/1o2Kd49

    The Environmental Legacy of the Steel City - NYTimes.com

    mobile.nytimes.com

    The photographer Lynn Johnson grew up in Pittsburgh, a city famed for its industry and attendant air pollution. She still recalls how her father would take a spare white shirt to work every day, as his collar would become discolored by noon. While the Steel City has given way to more tech-driven

    Feb 10th 9:18am • 3 Comments

  • Press Contact
  • The Heinz Endowments
    Megha Satyanarayana, Communications Officer
    Phone: 412-338-2616
    Email: meghas@heinz.org
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