Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ACHD: Clairton Air is Bad But not as Bad as an EPA Study Shows

A report released this week by the US Department of Environmental Protection finds the risk of getting cancer based on air quality in Clairton and Glassport is 20 times that of the national average. For those in Glassport the risk is 700 in one million and 762 in a million in Clairton. The report uses air quality data from 2002. Allegheny County Health Department spokesperson says the air quality in the Clairton and Glassport area is much better than it was when the numbers were gathered. He says the health department recently entered into an agreement with US Steel to either upgrade or remove old coke ovens from the Clairton Coke Works. In the last year the company has idled many of the ovens due to falling demand and that has resulted in improved air quality in the Mon Valley. That may give the county a glimpse of what is to come. Cole says the county is also in the process of reaching agreements with other pollution sources that blow into the valley. He says the ultimate goal is to bring all of the Mon Valley into attainment with federal air standards. Right now glass port and Clairton are considered to be out of attainment. Cole says the air quality for the 25,000 people in the nonattainment area is “unacceptable.” He says, “The air quality is not as good as it needs to be but it is getting better and it is better than it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago.”

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