The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Pittsburgh has a bad climate for COPD. The air is among the most polluted in the United States. Combined with harsh winters, the air quality presents a challenge for those with COPD trying to breathe easily. The Air in Pittsburgh: Poor for People with COPD.
Pittsburgh’s Move Toward Cleaner Air
The first air quality laws were passed in Pittsburgh shortly after World War II when citizens began raising awareness about the problem. People generally embraced the need for cleaner air, and were even willing to pay more money for more efficient, environment-friendly heaters to achieve higher air quality.
It was after the Donora Smog Disaster of 1948 that the Division of Air Pollution Control was established to study air quality and protect citizens. The Donora Smog Disaster occurred when factory pollution over Donora, PA, reached such concentration that, within a 24-hour period, nineteen people died and about five hundred got sick when a black cloud of smog formed over the city, blotting out the sun for days.
What is the Cost of Lung Disease to Pittsburgh Residents?
Pittsburgh, historically called the “Gateway to the West,” has played an important role in U.S. history, from the French and Indian and Revolutionary War, to becoming the industrial hub of America. But what has been the cost of this contribution to our country’s economy? A recent study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh suggests that respiratory disease in coal mining areas is more prevalent than in areas that do not pose the same occupational hazards. Pennsylvania is currently the fourth largest coal producing state in the country.
Lung Disease Threat Widespread in Pittsburgh
The threat of lung disease is not only a concern for those who hold industrial jobs. Industrial pollution has created a cloud of unease over the region. Pittsburgh has the highest levels of air pollution in the U.S., except for California.
Pittsburgh residents have seen family members pass away from diseases they believe were caused by pollution, and now they are calling for change. According to the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, air pollution has raised local death rates by 44% above the national average for pollution-related diseases, with residents demanding that the state take action to reduce the amount of pollution in the air.
Lifelong resident Rex Cole, Jr. is quoted in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette:
“What you did was, you went to high school, then got a job at U.S. Steel… Sometimes the smell is so thick you can taste it. But most people are more worried about putting food on the table than the long-term effects of lung or heart diseases.”
Mr. Cole is heading up efforts to attract alternative energy industries to the Metro-Pittsburgh area in hopes to eliminate these health issues.
“We already found that switching all traditional power plants to solar power plants could reduce air pollution by 90 percent,” says Cole.
Many lung disease sufferers take daily medications and use supplemental oxygen to get through the day. Others face more serious options such as a lung reduction or transplant. There is, however, an alternative option. The Lung Institute specializes in treating those with debilitating lung diseases using minimally invasive stem cell therapy. Many patients see positive results after their first treatment. If you or a loved one suffers from a lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.