small text medium text large text

Environmental Pollution
Including Environmental Health

Print, online and local resources in environmental pollution and environmental health, particularly for the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania area.

See also: Brownfields, Recycling, and Water Quality.

Latest Reports


Pittsburgh Region

  • The Air & Waste Management Association, Allegheny Mountain Section
    Promoting better understanding of problems in the fields of air and water pollution and waste management and providing a means for exchanging information towards resolving those problems.
  • Allegheny CleanWays
    Allegheny CleanWays is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed in 2000 to "engage and empower people to eliminate illegal dumping and littering in Allegheny County."
  • Allegheny County: Adopt a Road
    Do you or your organizationwant to adopt a county road and keep it clean? It entails picking up trash twice a year along a 3-mile stretch.
  • Allegheny County Environmental Air Quality Task Force
    Charged with reviewing the functions of the County’s Air Quality Program and making recommendations to improve regional air quality, the Task Force gave its recommendations in December of 2009.
  • Allegheny County Health Department
    Includes a section on Environment that covers air pollution, solid waste management and public drinking water.
  • Allegheny County Partnership to Reduce Diesel Pollution
    The Allegheny County Partnership to Reduce Diesel Pollution is a comprehensive campaign led by Clean Water Action and the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), to reduce deadly particulate emissions from all diesel sectors, including waste haulers, trucks, buses, locomotives, and marine vessels.
  • The Breathe Project
    The Breathe Project is a coalition of residents, businesses, government and many other groups in southwestern Pennsylvania that are working together to clean up our air for the health of our families and economy.
  • Center for Environmental Oncology
    The purpose of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute is to promote further research on the environmental causes of cancer and educate the public about environmental risk factors for cancer.
  • Center for Healthy Environments & Communities, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
    CHEC helps individuals & communities in Western Pennsylvania identify their most important environmental problems and develop action plans for more sustainable solutions for a healthy environment.
  • Citizens Against Litter
    Created in 2005, Citizens Against Litter is a loosely connected group of Pittsburgh residents and merchants who are passionate about picking up litter in their neighborhoods.
  • Don't Trash My Turf!
    An anti-litter campaign by the Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and the Pennsylvania Resources Council made possible by a grant from the Colcom Foundation.
  • Environmental Working Group: Chromium-6 Is Widespread in US Tap Water
    Pittburgh, with .88 parts per billion (ppb), has one of the highest levels of the carcinogenic hexavalent chromium of the 35 cities tested. In 2009, California officials proposed setting a “public health goal” for hexavalent chromium in drinking water of 0.06 parts per billion to reduce cancer risk.
  • GASP: Group Against Smoking and Pollution
    A citizen's group working to prevent air pollution on local, state, and national levels since its creation in 1969.
  • Institute for Green Science: Introduction to Green Chemistry
    This course from Carnegie Mellon University helps students understand the notion of sustainability and how it applies to chemistry.
  • Little Blue Run Fly Ash Containment Reservoir in Beaver County
  • Ohio Citizen Action: WTI Incinerator
    An action group best known for its work in environment and health and a major opponent to Waste Technologies, Inc. East Liverpool, Ohio, hazardous waste incinerator on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.
  • Paddle Without Pollution
    Paddle Without Pollution organizes primarily kayakers and canoeists to conduct trash pick-ups, assist with habitat restoration, and monitor the conditions of rivers, lakes, and streams.
  • Pittsburgh Post Gazette
    • Three of dirtiest coal-fired plants in Western Pa., report finds
      "Three of the 10 dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the nation are located in Western Pennsylvania, according to a new report that also ranks the state first overall in emissions of toxic air pollutants like arsenic, chromium, hydrochloric acid, lead and mercury." (12/8/2011)
    • Mercury termed a big threat to health in region
      A Wednesday, January 26, 2011 article about a PennEnvironment report that found that "The Keystone coal-fired power plant in Armstrong County is the second biggest mercury emitter in the nation, and the Conemaugh power plant in southern Indiana County ranks fourth. Both are owned by Houston, Texas-based GenOn, formerly RRI. The Cambria Cogen Co. power plant in Cambria County ranks eighth nationally for mercury emissions." Download the report: Dirty Energy's Assault on Our Health: Mercury
    • Mapping mortality
      A Post-Gazette series that examines air pollution in Western Pennsylvania
      "...the Post-Gazette's review and analysis of state Department of Health mortality statistics shows that 14,636 more people died from heart disease, respiratory disease and lung cancer in the region from 2000 through 2008 than national mortality rates for those diseases would predict. Those diseases have been linked to air pollution exposure." (Sunday, December 12, 2010)
    • The ugly side of beauty, some cosmetics can be toxic
      This July 20, 2010 article by Marylynn Uricchio reports that the European Union has banned more than 1000 chemicals from cosmetics while the U.S. has only banned 10. Check here for information on what organizations are trying to change this:
    • Region gets an 'F' for pollution: Pittsburgh's air again ranks among worst in nation
      April 27, 2011. "In the American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2011" report released Tuesday, the Pittsburgh area ranked as the nation's third most polluted area for short-term particle pollution for the second year in a row. It ranked behind only the Bakersfield-Delano and Fresno-Madera areas of California."
  • PopCity: Stamping Out Cigarette Butt Litter
    A July 8, 2009 by Caralyn Green about the toxicity of cigarette butts.
  • Rockefeller University (NY) Case Study: "Evaluating Environmental Equity in Allegheny County"
    A community risk study by Theodore S. Glickman from the Program for the Human Environment (1994).
  • Scenic Pittsburgh
    A local nonprofit organization committed to eradicating "visual blight", like electronic billboards.
  • Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project
    A nonprofit addressing the health effects of natural gas drilling in Southwest Pennsylvania, funded by the Heinz Endowments, the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Claneil Foundation. Read more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: First-ever shale health office opens
  • Southwest Pennsylvania Ozone Action Partnership
    A coalition of businesses, governments, community groups and individuals that educates the public about the dangers of ground-level ozone and encourages people to take voluntary actions to reduce their contributions to air pollution. You will find an ozone forecast on their web page.
  • Superfund Sites
    • Lindane Dump Site (EPA)
      Information on this Superfund site located in Harrison Township, 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh from the Environmental Protection Agency's Hazardous Site Cleanup Division for Region 3, Pennsylvania.
    • Lindane Dump/ALSCO Park Superfund Site
      Information from about the cleanup of this EPA National Priorities List site, one of the nation's most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites identified for possible long-term cleanup action under the Superfund program. Located in Harrison Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
  • Von Roll America (WTI)
    Von Roll America, Inc. owns and operates the WTI (Waste Technologies, Inc.) industrial waste treatment plant in East Liverpool, OH.
  • Westmoreland Cleanways
    Westmoreland Cleanways sponsors programs for the proper disposal of solid waste through recycling, special collections, and the cleanup of illegal dumpsites and littered areas.
  • Zero Waste Pittsburgh: Household Chemical Collections
    Learn what Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is and how to dispose of it.



Web Sites


Selected Books

Endangered Oceans
Louise I. Gerdes, book editor
GC1018.E528 2009
An Opposing Viewpoints volume from Greenhaven Press which includes views of scientists, policy makers, and other experts debating the future of the world's oceans.
Greene, Ronnie
Night Fire: Big Oil, Poison Air, and Margie Richard's Fight to Save Her Town
HD9568.N67 G74 2008
The Diamond neighborhood was an all-black enclave in the mostly white town of Norco, Louisiana, aptly named for the New Orleans Refining Co., an industrial processing plant. Margie Eugene Richard was raised in the shadow of a giant chemical plant operated by Shell, and witnessed her neighbors fall ill amid the toxic waste the plant emitted year after year. This is the story of her 15 year fight against the goliath and its pollution.
Jacobs, Chip and William J. Kelly
Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles
RA576.6.C2 J33 2008x
Residents of the Smokey City might find solace in this accessible history of LA's air pollution problems.
Jensen, Derrick and Aric McBay
What We Leave Behind
TD175.J445 2009
Industrial civilization (essentially a complicated way of turning land into waste) is incompatible with life and Earth's natural system of growth and decay.
Kirby, David
Animal Factory: The Looming Threat Of Industrial Pig Dairy And Poultry Farms To Humans And The Environment
TD195.A34 K57 2010
Bestselling investigative journalist David Kirby exposes the powerful business and political interests behind large-scale factory farms, and tracks the far-reaching fallout that contaminates our air, land, water, and food.
Loeb, Penny
Moving Mountains: How One Woman and Her Community Won Justice from Big Coal
KF228.B733 L64 2007
Patricia Bragg, a homemaker in the tiny community of Pie, West Virginia, joined forces with attorney Joe Lovett to halt the mountaintop removal mining practices of the coal industry (Bragg v. Robertson).
Malkan, Stacy
Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry
HD9970.5.C672 M355 2007
Malkan complains that the $35 billion cosmetics industry is so powerful that they've kept themselves unregulated for decades. The European Union has banned more than 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics while the United States has banned just nine.
Schwartz-Nobel, Loretta
Poisoned Nation: Pollution, Greed, and the Rise of Deadly Epidemics
RA1226.S39 2007
An award-winning investigative journalist links the soaring epidemics of cluster illnesses and many other diseases to the chemical contamination of our water, air, food, and everyday products for the profit and power of a reckless few.
Shabecoff, Philip and Alice Shabecoff
Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on Our Children
RJ383.S53 2008
Two journalists directly and definitively link industrial toxins to the current rise in childhood disease and death in the United States. The Shabecoffs provide evidence that our homes are now infested with everything from dangerous flame retardants in crib mattresses to harmful plastic softeners in teething rings to antibiotics and arsenic in chicken to lush lawns dusted with herbicides.
Smith, Rick and Bruce Lourie
Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things
RA1213.S65 2009b
Pollution is no longer just about belching smokestacks and ugly sewer pipes; now, it's personal. The most dangerous pollution, it turns out, comes from commonplace items in our homes and workplaces that are laced with industrial toxins (phthalates, Teflon, ubiquitous anti-bacterial triclosan, brominated fire retardants, Bisphenol A, mercury, and hormone-based pesticide 2.4-D).

Browse the Catalog

For additional titles, browse the library catalog under the subjects: