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  Benefits of Ridesharing: Reducing Air Pollutants


Air pollution affects everyone. The average adult breathes more than 3,000 gallons of air every day.

Children breathe even more air per pound of body weight and are more susceptible to air pollution. In addition, those with sensitivities, the children, elderly, people with heart and lung disease or in the summer, adults who exercise outside, face problems when air quality pollutants rise beyond health standards.


Ozone—good up high, bad nearby

Ozone in the stratospheric ozone layer protects us from the sun’s harmful rays. But at the ground-level, where we breathe, it creates problems. From May to September, sunlight and high temperatures bake pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, power plants, industry and other sources to form smog, or ground level ozone.

Short term exposure to high levels of ozone irritates the lung’s airways causing inflammation. It can aggravate asthma and bronchitis and increase hospital admissions.


Particle pollution is tiny drops of liquid or small particles of dust, metals, and other material that float in the air. Some particles are dark or large enough to be seen as soot or smoke. Others are so small that they can only be detected with an electron microscope.

It comes from a variety of sources such as cars, diesel engines, power plants, industry, construction, forest fires, open burning, and wood combustion.

Although a year round problem, particle pollution levels spike during high ground-level ozone days in the summer and during the winter and fall when woodstoves and fireplaces are in use.

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The Air Quality Partnership forecasts “Air Quality Action Days” — days when the air is expected to be unhealthy to breathe. Receive FREE REAL-TIME AIR POLLUTION ALERTS throughout the year via e-mail. It’s fast. It’s FREE. It’s easy! It’s the best way to learn about the air quality in your area. Find out more about the Air Quality Partnership and air quality in your area at:

To obtain hourly air quality data for Allegheny County call 412-578-8179.

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Make Clean Air Your Business
(PDF Format, 912K)

Special thanks to the Southwest PA Air Quality Partnership, Inc. who gave us permission to reprint these materials. Please contact the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission if you would like any additional information on air quality.

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