Susan Scott Peterson had been living in Pittsburgh for just a few weeks when she smelled it for the first time. The air was a little thick, a little hazy—and it smelled like a ripe porta-potty.
It didn’t take long to figure out it was hydrogen sulfide, a sulfur-smelling gas emitted by U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works, about fifteen miles south of her house. The plant manufactures coke, a fuel used in steelmaking—and it’s notorious for violating local pollution regulations.
But what could she do about it?
This is a story about the air we breathe, the risks we live with, and what it means to become a citizen of a place.
It’s adapted from an episode produced for Outside/In, a podcast by New Hampshire Public Radio.
- Living with it: The story of one family and Pittsburgh’s polluted air - For those new to Pittsburgh, the realization that the air isn’t always healthy to breathe can come as a shock. That’s what happened to producer Susan Scott Peterson and her family.