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Letter: Take lesson from deadly pollution in Pennsylvania

Published January 4, 2014 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As residents of the Wasatch Front settle in for yet another smoggy, foggy, cold and miserable winter, I wonder how many know the story of Donora, Penn.? On Oct. 27 of 1948, the residents of this small industrial community suffered one of the worst smog catastrophes in American history when a temperature inversion descended on unsuspecting residents.

In the following five days, the inversion killed 20 people and 800 animals and injured between a third and half of the entire town. Further, for the 10 years following, mortality rates in Donora were significantly higher than surrounding communities.

Calling for a united effort, solving the Wasatch Front smog dilemma won't be easy. Business can't be held blameless nor can elected officials (who have, for years, progressed no further than calling meetings or appointing commissions) nor can the general public. We must act and soon or we may very well suffer the same fate as Donora.

Jack McDonald

Salt Lake City