Public Health Facts

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Toxic air in our backyard poses a significant threat to public health and sickens people in all our communities.

10 Health Facts You Need To Know

Fact #1

Pittsburgh ranks as one of the top 10 most polluted cities in the nation in regard to year-round particle pollution (PM2.5). [1, 4]

Fact #2

Allegheny County ranks in the top 2 percent of counties in the U.S. for cancer risk from air pollution. [2]

Fact #3

Our air poses a significant threat to public health with an increased risk of heart and lung disease, asthma, diabetes, cancer and premature death. [1, 2, 3, 4]

Fact #4

Pittsburgh remains one of the most challenging places to live with asthma in the country. Children living near smokestack pollution sources in communities like Clairton, Woodland Hills and Allegheny Valley have as high as a 1 in 4 rate of having asthma. (Gentile Study) [12]

Fact #5

Suspected carcinogens in air pollution are associated with lung cancer, bladder cancer and childhood leukemia. [8, 11]

Fact #6

Air pollution may be the cause of neurodevelopmental disorders (autism spectral) and neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimer’s), which have increased at alarming rates in recent decades. [11]

Fact #7

Low birth weight and developmental effects in babies are linked to chronic exposures to toxic air pollutants and particulate matter. [10, 11]

Fact #8

Air pollution has been linked with pregnancy and birth complications among women living in Allegheny County, including increased risk of preeclampsia, gestational hypertension and preterm births. [9]

Fact #9

Fine particulate matter may alter metabolism in genetically susceptible populations, leading to higher body mass index (BMI) and obesity. [10,11]

Fact #10

The construction of the Shell Petrochemical facility in Beaver County could erase 30 years’ worth of regional air quality improvements and bring a variety of health risks from the VOCs it will emit. [6]