U.S. once had China-like air pollution

By Jack Williams ©2015

Stories about the choking air pollution in China prompted Jack to write a Washington Post Capital Weather Gang story on Oct. 25, 2013 about an episode of deadly pollution that sickened  and killed people in the small Pennsylvania manufacturing town of Donora in 1948.

Jack first researched the Donora pollution disaster while writing Chapter 11 of the AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Weather in 2008. He used his research for that and some new research for the Weather Gang article.

In the Post story Jack quotes from When Smoke Ran Like Water by Devra Davis, world-renowned epidemiologist who was born in Donora two years before the town’s worst pollution episode and lived there through elementary school. In addition to telling the Donora story in detail, her book is a good, very readable history of air pollution and is a good source for anyone who wants to learn more about the topic.

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