Coalition Works to Provide Home Air Purifiers in Clairton

Thursday, May 28, 2020
PA_Air Filter Photo Family_Emily Scott

Hundreds apply to improve their air quality

(Clairton) – A coalition of community, health, and environmental organizations has been working to provide home air purifiers to help protect Clairton residents with respiratory and cardiovascular disease from the threat of ongoing pollution. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the coalition has been focused on residents with pre-existing health conditions most at risk. Already over 225 Clairton households have applied to date, and the coalition will be taking applications through Saturday, May 30.

Clairton residents have faced decades of some of the worst air quality in Pennsylvania and the nation. Johnie Perryman, a member of Valley Clean Air Now and a Clairton resident stated, “Air pollution has given just about everyone in Clairton a pre-existing condition.  I’d like to see U.S. Steel provide air purifiers and masks for residents here, or at least contribute. We will continue to be working to make sure we get something for everyone who needs it.”

Dr. Deborah Gentile, Medical Director for Community Partners in Asthma Care stated, “Residents of Clairton are now at a heightened risk for COVID due to ongoing air pollution issues.  This much needed program will provide the most vulnerable members of the Clairton community some protection against air pollution and its harmful health effects.”   

Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania Director for Clean Water Action stated, “The response from residents has been overwhelming, with most of the applicants having serious health conditions. This program is demonstrating what Clairton residents have been saying for years – that pollution in the area has made them vulnerable to health problems, including COVID-19. There is an urgent need for additional funding for this program so we can meet the needs of the Clairton community.”

The Clairton Home Air Filter Distribution Program is a partnership of: Valley Clean Air Now (VCAN), Clean Water Action, Clean Water Fund, Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces (ROCIS), Clean Air Council, One PA, Women for a Healthy Environment, Cornerstone Care Inc., and Community Partners in Asthma Care. Funding for this program is from The Heinz Endowments.

The 225 Clairton households that have already applied represent 585 residents. 29% of these residents reported being diagnosed with a respiratory illness, 26% reported having cardiovascular disease, and 11% had diabetes. Many reported having multiple health problems within each household.

The air purifiers being distributed will be able to reduce levels of particulate matter within the house, and potentially address other pollution issues as well, including both indoor and outdoor pollution sources.

Clairton residents can apply online at  Please call 412-334-0588 with questions or to fill out an application over the phone.                                                                                              

People wishing to donate to the Clairton Home Air Filter Distribution Program can do so here.

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Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration.

Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania Director