Several Pennsylvania cities place among the top 25 most polluted in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association, which uses data from the Environmental Protection Agency.
And many Pennsylvania counties, too, fare poorly in ALA ratings on ozone and particle pollution. Of 36 counties for which the organization had data, 16 received a grade of D or F for ozone levels. Of 25 counties with data, nine received a D or F for particle pollution.
The rise in use of natural gas over coal has contributed to a decrease in particulate matter in Pennsylvania’s air. A 2015 report by the United Health Foundation, using EPA data, showed that the state’s air pollution — measured by the public’s exposure to particulate matter — decreased each year but one since 2003.
However, in that report, Pennsylvania still ranked 48th in air quality in the U.S.
East Liverpool, just across the Pennsylvania border northwest of Pittsburgh, has a history of welcoming polluting businesses because people need the jobs. But some residents fault city leaders and regulators for failing to protect them.
One argument against keeping the tests: Most cars pass., and newer cars have better emission controls. Plus, one lawmaker said, why should neighboring counties have different sets of rules?