The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) is teaming up with Patagonia Pittsburgh to let people know: It’s well past time we do something about the often pervasive rotten egg odor caused by hydrogen sulfide emissions by meeting the H2S standard—one that is exceeded dozens of times each year in Allegheny County.
To help raise awareness of an associated petition, our friends at Patagonia Pittsburgh transformed one of its display windows on Walnut Street in Shadyside into a mural with the message, “Tired of dirty air? Help GASP Clean it. Sign the petition.”
The colorful mural was designed by Riley Mate and painted by Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Murray. People who stop by can check out their work, sign our petition, and learn more about GASP’s mission.
“Thanks so much to Patagonia for helping us get the word out about an issue that impacts so many people in our city: Poor air quality,” GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said. “H2S emissions do more than cause a sickening odor. They make people sick and otherwise affect people’s quality of life. At a time when Pittsburgh has been named one of the most livable cities in the United States, people shouldn’t have to keep their windows closed on a nice evening or forego jogging or working in their garden because of the industrial stench.”
She explained that the air quality monitor nearest to U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works has detected levels of hydrogen sulfide above the state’s daily average standard of .005 parts per million (ppm) an average of 52 times per year for the past seven years. In 2015— the worst of those years—there were 87 violations.
To put that into perspective: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory, Clairton Coke Works self-reported emitting roughly 120 tons of hydrogen sulfide in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, while the self-reported emissions for all other sources in Pennsylvania combined totaled about 36.5 tons.
GASP already delivered one petition to the Allegheny County Health Department, asking them to take action on this important health and policy issue. You can read more about it—and sign our petition asking Allegheny County Council to do what it can to encourage the health department to take action—here.