Reports on Public Health

The reports below represent a sample of Frontier Group’s work on Public Health. For more of our reports on this and related topics, please visit Full archive coming soon.

Responding to COVID-19: Information and ideas related to the COVID-19 pandemic

Frontier Group and its partner groups, including U.S. PIRG and Environment America, are producing work related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click the headline above for links to blog posts, advocacy, and other resources for understanding and responding to the crisis.

(March 2020)
Trouble in the Air: Millions of Americans Breathed Polluted Air in 2018

People across America regularly breathe polluted air that increases their risk of premature death, and can also trigger asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts. Trouble in the Air finds hundreds of communities suffered from elevated levels of air pollution in 2018, a problem that will only grow worse as the climate warms. By cutting the emissions that cause air pollution and contribute to global warming, we can protect public health today, while minimizing the warming that threatens our future.

(January 2020)
Offshore Drilling, Onshore Damage: Broken Pipelines, Dirty Refineries and the Pollution Impacts of Energy Infrastructure

The Trump administration has proposed opening much of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans off the U.S. coast to offshore oil and gas drilling. The environmental dangers posed by offshore oil spills are well known. The damage to the environment, communities and public health from the onshore infrastructure needed to support offshore drilling is less well known, but no less real. Offshore Drilling, Onshore Damage highlights how the onshore pipelines, waste disposal facilities, ports and refineries that support offshore production endanger public health by polluting the air and water, and threaten wildlife and ecosystems.

(December 2019)
Unsafe Used Cars for Sale: Unrepaired Recalled Vehicles at AutoNation Dealerships

AutoNation, which bills itself as “America’s Largest Auto Retailer,” is selling recalled used vehicles that contain dangerous safety defects. In a survey of over 2,400 used vehicles for sale at 28 AutoNation locations, 1 in 9 were found to have unrepaired safety recalls. Those vehicles are potentially hazardous to the people who buy them, their passengers and everyone else on the road.

(October 2019)
Cutting through the Smoke: Why the Allegheny County Health Department Must Turn the Corner on Decades of Weak Clean Air Enforcement

Pittsburgh is no longer the “Smoky City” of days gone by, but pollution from industry continues to pose a threat to public health. Cutting Through the Smoke documents the health toll of industrial pollution in the area, the Allegheny County Health Department’s history of weak enforcement of clean air laws, and recent actions by the department that provide hope that air polluters in the county will finally be held accountable.

(August 2019)
Safe for Swimming?: Water Quality at Our Beaches

Americans should be able to expect that water at our beaches is clean and safe for swimming. In fact, that was a key goal when our nation adopted the Clean Water Act in 1972. But an analysis of sampling data from around the country shows that, all too often, water at American beaches may be putting swimmers' health at risk.

(July 2019)
Electric Buses: Clean Transportation for Healthier Neighborhoods and Cleaner Air

All-electric buses are here, and they’re cleaner, healthier and often cheaper for transit agencies, school districts and bus contractors to run in the long-term. To clear our air and protect our health, policymakers should accelerate the replacement of diesel and other fossil fuel-powered buses with clean, electric buses.

(May 2018)
Trash in America: Moving From Destructive Consumption to a Zero-Waste System

The U.S. produces immense amounts of trash. Currently, we extract natural resources to make products that we buy, use – usually briefly – and ultimately throw out. Most of these materials are dumped in landfills or burned in incinerators, creating pollution that threatens our health, environment and global climate.

Trash in America: Moving From Destructive Consumption to a Zero-Waste System lays out the details of this system, examples of communities implementing a better one, and the path to a sustainable, zero-waste economy.

(February 2018)
Reaping What We Sow: How the Practices of Industrial Agriculture Put Our Health and Environment at Risk

Agriculture in the U.S. is dominated by large, specialized crop and animal farms. These industrial farms prioritize short-term productivity without regard to harmful impacts on the environment, public health or long-term agricultural production. Federal farm policies encourage this damaging approach to agriculture. Changes to key public policies can help shift how our food system operates, and better protect public health, the environment, and the future of farming.

(February 2018)
Complete Streets for St. Pete: Building a Healthier, Safer City through Better Street Design

Complete Streets – streets designed for all road users, including people on foot, on bike or taking transit – can help address transportation and public health problems in St. Petersburg.

(May 2017)
Our Health At Risk: Why Are Millions of Americans Still Breathing Unhealthy Air?

Despite decades of progress under the Clean Air Act, Americans across the country continue to breathe unhealthy air, leading to increased risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.

(April 2017)
Dangerous and Close: Fracking Puts the Nation’s Most Vulnerable People at Risk

Oil and gas companies are fracking near our communities, polluting our air and water, and risking the health of our children and other vulnerable populations. Dangerous and Close documents how many thousands of day cares and schools and hundreds of hospitals and nursing homes are close to fracked wells in nine states.

(October 2016)
Toxic Ten: The Allegheny County Polluters That Are Fouling Our Air and Threatening Our Health

Residents of the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which includes Pittsburgh, suffer from among the worst air quality in the nation. For example, the county ranks in the top 0.3 percent of all counties in the U.S. for cancer risk from air pollutants discharged from point-source facilities. Toxic Ten: The Allegheny County Polluters That Are Fouling Our Air and Threatening Our Health profiles the top 10 emitters of toxic industrial air pollution in Allegheny County. The facilities are ranked by the relative toxicity of the air pollution they reported releasing in 2013, according to EPA data. 

(October 2015)
Dangerous and Close: Fracking Near Pennsylvania's Most Vulnerable Residents

Since 2007, more than 9,000 wells employing fracking have been drilled in Pennsylvania - many of them in close proximity to schools, day care facilities, hospitals and nursing homes. Dangerous and Close tracks the spread of fracking ever closer to Pennsylvania's most vulnerable residents and details the environmental and health threats fracking poses to Pennsylvanians.

(October 2015)
Childhood Hunger in America's Suburbs: The Changing Geography of Poverty

Childhood Hunger in America’s Suburbs shows the changing geography of childhood hunger at a time of growing suburban poverty. This report demonstrates that the risk of childhood hunger is an issue affecting nearly every American community, including communities that might otherwise think that hunger is a problem that occurs “somewhere else.”

(September 2015)