PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health’s Center for Healthy Environments and Communities is out with a new study that shows southwestern Pennsylvania is at a significantly higher risk of developing cancer.

The cause of the high risk is exposure to toxic air pollution. This air pollution is released by manufacturing processes, energy production and diesel combinations.

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About 200 pollutants identified by the Environmental Protection Agency are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects.

KDKA Radio’s Bill Rehkopf talks with Drew Michanowicz, a doctoral student and research specialist at Pitt, about the study he helped conduct.

Michanowicz explained what they were looking at while conducting the study.

“All these cancer risk estimates are coming from the National Air Toxic Supplements, which is a nationwide assessment that the EPA used to analyze the residual risk to see how well the current technology that are regulating a lot of our sources, and how well they are doing in terms of health effects that are available,” Michanowicz said.

The study highlights not only the areas that are heavily industrialized, but their surrounding neighborhoods that are downwind from these plants.

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The study also touches on something that hits close to home and has proved to be very controversial in our area, Marcellus Shale drilling.

Rehkopf asked Michanowicz about the effects that fracking and horizontal drilling will have on our current air pollution.

Michanowicz says they cannot predict the pollution just yet so they made this part of the research like a prediction of what is possibly to come.

“This portion of the report is a foresight kind of piece where one of the concerns we had was potentially altering the pollutant mixture that we have here in our region, those related activities and industries could certainly have the potential to alter the mix,” said Michanowicz.

You can hear the whole interview here:

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You can also listen to the Afternoon News with Bill Rehkopf weekdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.