Pittsburgh Air Quality

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Pittsburgh definitely isn’t the same Steel City from decades ago. Although we once were known for our production of steel, times have definitely changed. People can walk around downtown without smoke from the steel mills visibly polluting the air. Although the air has drastically gotten cleaner and clearer, the city and its surrounding counties are still not up to par with the rest of the country.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had a three-year monitoring period from 2011-2013 that showed Pittsburgh (and southwestern Pennsylvania in general) on the wrong end of air quality rankings. A coke plant on Neville Island was fined $600,000 for having 330 air pollution violations. When a violation is detected, fines are then negotiated and fixes are ordered. This process was created by the U.S. EPA to help reduce pollution and it has helped make a change for the better over the past couple of decades, but the region still ranks as having some of the worst air in the nation.

Since the pollutants are not always noticeable, 65% of residents in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metro Area describe the region’s air quality as “minor problem” or “not a problem at all”. Serious health problems can come about due to air quality including respiratory ailments, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Although many people think outdoor air quality is the main concern when it comes to our health, indoor air quality can be just as harmful. Indoor air quality can be affected by things such as carbon monoxide, mold, bacteria, etc.! Poor air quality could lead to headaches, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose throat and lungs. Some bacteria can lead to asthma, diseases or even cancer after long exposure. In order to make sure that you and your family stay healthy, we recommend having a Technician come into your home to make sure that filtration and ventilation are clean and working correctly. Carpets and rugs also need cleaned regularly. Although it might not be noticeable, dirt and other bacteria can seep into the material and expose you and your family to pollutants.

Below are some severe air pollutants and how they can affect our health:

Smoke

If you or someone at home smokes, you should probably rethink that. Secondhand Smoke is a major indoor air pollutant. It can bring over 200 known poisons into your home including carbon monoxide and formaldehyde and at least 60 chemicals it has are known to cause cancer. These chemicals stick to furniture, carpets, air filters, etc. in your home that can cause respiratory health problems. Although you might not think Secondhand Smoke is that serious, over 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 50,000 heart disease deaths happen every year to nonsmokers in the United States.

Asbestos

Asbestos is common term that comes up when talking about air quality. Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment that can produce microscopic fibers. Because these fibers are resistant to fire, heat and chemicals, asbestos has been used in many industries such as insulation, roofing and even fireproofing. When inhaled into the lungs, it can cause asbestosis (scarring of the lung tissue), lung cancer, and mesothelioma. This usually only occurs during long periods of time of exposure. The use of asbestos has declined in the United States over the last few decades.

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a chemical usually found in adhesive or bonding agents for household materials like upholstery, carpet and plywood paneling. The release of this chemical into the air can cause coughing, eye, nose, and throat irritation, rashes and dizziness. To make sure Formaldehyde isn’t released into your home, minimize the use of paints or cleaning agents that might emit the chemical. There are many substitute products that exist that don’t use formaldehyde, so make sure you check product details so you don’t bring the chemical into your home.

Radon

Radon can enter the home through cracks in the foundation walls and floors as well as your drains. Exposure to radon is considered the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. You can’t see, taste, or smell radon, but if you are concerned about exposure in your home, testing is the only way you will know if you are at risk. Many new homes though are built with radon-resistant features that are considered effective when installed properly.

Although those are some severe cases of air pollutants that could get into your home, it is more common for biological pollutants such as molds, pollen, animal dander and particles from dust mites to cause harm to our health. Appropriate ventilation with clean fresh air can reduce levels of indoor air pollutants.

Gillece Services can make your indoor air cleaner and safer to breathe. Although Pittsburgh might not have the best air quality, you can manage the air quality inside your home so that it is healthy for you and your family. Gillece offers a variety of products for improving indoor air quality. Air filtration systems, air purifiers, and humidifiers work to help reduce and eliminate potentially harmful airborne particles. Our products are designed to capture even the smallest airborne particles that account for the majority of indoor air pollution. If you are concerned about potentially harmful particles in your home, call us today and we will send one of our Indoor Air Quality Specialists to provide your home with exceptional quality air.

Image Credit: PopCityMedia.com

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Tom Gillece Sr. is the founder and president of Gillece Services in Pittsburgh, providing residential Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Waterproofing services throughout Western Pennsylvania. Established in 1980, Gillece has helped homeowners with all of their emergency, maintenance, repair and replacement needs for more than 30 years. For the latest news and offers, Gillece can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.