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Legal Resources

These resources can be invaluable when it comes to getting work done and advocating for cleaner air. For more info on educational resources including air pollution FAQs and up to date contact information for elected officials, visit our main resource page.

  • What types of air pollutants do we normally worry about?
    The Environmental Protection Agency sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for 6 criteria air pollutants. These pollutants were chosen because they are widespread, and pose significant harm to human health and the environment. The criteria pollutants are ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, lead, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) are another important group of pollutants. These are pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental effects.
  • Where does air pollution come from?
    There are several sources of air pollution: Natural sources include volcanoes and wildfires. Mobile sources are related to traffic and include vehicle emissions, as well as emissions from air traffic, trains, construction equipment, and ships. Stationary sources include factories, power plants, and industrial sources. Major Sources are facilities that have the potential to emit pollutants in amounts equal to or greater than the corresponding major source threshold levels. These threshold levels vary by pollutant and/or source category. To find a map of nearby major sources and what pollutants they emit, check out our Air Permits Clearinghouse. A minor source is a facility that emits pollutants in amounts less than the corresponding major source thresholds.
  • How can I protect myself from air pollution?
    Pre-plan outdoor activities. Choosing the right time of day and location can minimize pollution exposure. Try to avoid areas with heavy traffic, especially during peak traffic times. Check the Air Quality Index. The AQI gives you a forecast of what the air quality will be like, and what the associated health effects are for the day. Sign up for Allegheny Alerts. Choose what types of alerts you are interested in and if you want them to call, text, or email you.
  • How can I speak up for clean air?
    It's important that regulators and administrators hear from the people, not just environmental groups. Making a complaint or filing a report is the first step if you suspect a violation, but there are many ways to make your voice heard. Writing letters to the editor, attending meetings, and writing to your representatives are all ways to show your commitment to cleaner, healthier air. If you want to get more involved, but aren’t sure where to start, consider becoming a member or contact us.
  • What are some air quality tools I can use?
    Air Quality Tools and Apps Smell Pgh App Breathe Project’s Breathe Cams Breathe Project’s Breathe Meter Breathe Project’s Breathe Mobile FracTracker National Weather Service Air Quality Index World’s Air Pollution: Real-Time Air Quality Index

Types of Legal Resources

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