Skip to content

“Winter Inversions Threaten To Increase Air Pollution, COVID-19 Risks”

“”We're now talking about two pandemics. We have a pollution pandemic, and we have the COVID pandemic.””

“At around 11 AM on November 4, Germaine Patterson stepped outside of her Clairton, Pennsylvania, home to exercise in the backyard. Dirty air sent her quickly retreating back inside.

“I started having heart palpitations,” she told EHN. “I know it was due to the air quality.”

For seven straight days in early November, air pollution levels in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, exceeded limits set to protect public health. Unusually warm weather had triggered a hazardous temperature inversion: A low layer of cold air along with other airborne particles near the ground—vehicle exhaust, wood smoke, industrial releases—became trapped beneath a lid of warmer air.”

Lynne Peeples reports for the Daily Climate December 10, 2020.