A Mixed Report Card on the State of Pennsylvania’s Air Quality

Overall, the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report is a mixed score card for Pennsylvania. The air is cleaner than it was a decade ago, but some regions have air quality issues that rank among the nation’s worst.

The Pittsburgh area is on all three of the association’s worst 25 U. S. cities lists for ozone, annual particle and daily particle pollution. The Philadelphia area makes two of the lists and even the Harrisburg area is on one.

On the positive side, 26 counties showed improvement in bad air days, and 18 showed improvement in annual average fine particle pollution

Kevin Stewart  Director of Environmental Health for the American Lung Association, Mid Atlantic,  says  better controls for power plant emissions, the trend toward more natural gas fired plants and improved fuel efficiency standards have helped, but there’s still more work to be done.

The Lung Association is concerned about proper controls to avoid dangerous emissions from drilling for natural gas.  Stewart adds there’s been another trend toward dirty combustion sources, such as outdoor wood burning boilers, that bears attention.

You can read the full report at