If it is April, it must be time for the American Lung Association to slander Pittsburgh with the claim that it has filthy air. And yes, it is the same old story. Virtually the entire southwest region of Pennsylvania is labeled as having high particulate pollution based on two monitoring locations, both just downwind from factories with relatively high particle releases. But monitors in the rest of the region continue to show the air to be perfectly acceptable. Indeed, counties with no monitors are deemed polluted because they happen to fall in the EPA’s western Pennsylvania district that contains the two offending monitors.
For several years the fallacies in the American Lung Association’s annual report on Pittsburgh have been pointed out so vociferously that almost no one who has bothered to look at what they are doing assigns any credibility to their asininity.
As we noted in a Policy Brief dated May 1 last year, the mortality rates for every age group in polluted southern California are lower than the rates in Laramie, Wyoming which consistently ranks among the cleanest air cities in the nation. We asked the Lung Association to explain this and to determine to what extent air quality plays a role in determining age specific mortality rates and why the discrepancy in their implicit predictions of what will happen and what is actually happening with death rates is so large. We are still waiting for those answers.