Everyone has the right to breathe clean air

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The May 12 editorial about the American Lung Association’s 2014 State of the Air report (“Dead Air: The Lung Association and Its Gross Simplification,” May 11) misses the point of the annual report entirely: The point is not what number best characterizes the average air quality throughout the region; it is that everyone in the region deserves to breathe clean air.

The air quality monitor in Liberty-Clairton typically registers some of the worst pollution levels in the Pittsburgh area. The monitor sits atop South Allegheny High School. Day in and day out, our children breathe in the air that this very monitor reports on. Don’t these children have a right to breathe clean air?

The Liberty-Clairton monitor regularly reports unhealthy levels of particle pollution and smog, which means that these children will more likely develop asthma, heart and lung disease and cancer. 

It is long past time that the Allegheny County Health Department ensures that the air all Pittsburghers breathe is healthy. As a first step, the department should keep the public informed about changes taking place at the Shenango plant on Neville Island to make the plant’s operations cleaner.

The public deserves to know what steps the department and plant are taking to protect public health.

Executive Director
Pennsylvania Clean Air Council

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