The official blog of the Lung Institute.
The History of Air Pollution in Pittsburgh
Reports on air pollution date back to the early 1800s in Pittsburgh. After coming to the United States to cover the Civil War, British author, Anthony Trollope, commented, “Pittsburgh without exception is the blackest place which I ever saw, the site is picturesque, even the filth and wondrous blackness are picturesque…. I was never more in love with smoke and dirt than when I stood and watched the darkness of night close in upon the floating soot which hovered over the city.” Many people believed that lots of smoke = lots of production, which is why Pittsburgh residents were slow to push for air quality laws. Many people even believed that coal smoke was good for the lungs and helped crops grow. Air quality laws have helped the city today, however Pittsburgh still has a long way to go.
Movement toward Cleaner Air
The first air quality laws were passed in Pittsburgh shortly after World War II. The movement started 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 if it meant cleaner air to breathe.
Finally, after the Donora Smog Disaster in 1948, the Division of Air Pollution Control was created to study air quality and protect citizens. The Donora Smog Disaster occurred when the air quality became so polluted over Donora, PA, that, within a 24 hour period, nineteen people died and about five hundred got sick as a result.
Occupational Lung Disease Awareness
In 1970, the organization passed the “Environmental Bill of Rights” stating that “the people have the right to clean air…” Today the Workers’ Compensation Law protects workers to ensure they are compensated for lost wages and medical benefits if they are injured on the job. In Pittsburgh, the most common occupational disease claims are pulmonary related. The law, however, involves specific timeframes for coverage, and with lung disease, many symptoms don’t show up for 15-20 years after exposure. This has resulted in many workers’ claims getting denied because workers don’t show symptoms within the specified timeframe. Because of this, many law firms and unions have been created in the area to help workers fight for their rights.
Lung disease is a serious issue in Pittsburgh, and while great strides have been made to protect its citizens, Pittsburgh still has a long way to go in the battle against air pollution and lung disease. Today Pittsburgh is still ranked as the U.S. city with the highest levels of air pollution east of California. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, air pollution has raised the local death rate to 44% above national average for pollution-related diseases.
Lung Disease Treatment Options
Many lung disease sufferers take daily medications and use supplemental oxygen to get through their day to day lives. 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. The Lung Institute will be opening a clinic in Pittsburgh in July of 2015. 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.